HM The Queen confirms county date

PUBLISHED: 00:55 27 February 2012 | UPDATED: 21:06 20 February 2013

HM The Queen confirms county date

HM The Queen confirms county date

Diamond Jubilee fever is sweeping Shropshire with the exciting news that The Queen herself will be joining the county's celebrations. Sarah Hart reports

Her majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are scheduled to visit Shropshire on July 12 as part of a nationwide tour of more than 50 towns and cities during her Jubilee year.

These visits will give Her Majesty the opportunity to express her thanks to people throughout the country for their continued support and loyalty, said a Buckingham Palace spokesman.

Final details will not be announced for some time for security reasons but a huge amount of work is now under way behind the scenes to make the visit memorable for the Royal visitor and the thousands of people who will want to turn out to pay tribute to her exceptional reign.

All that has been confirmed so far is that Shropshire has been chosen along with Hereford, Worcester and Birmingham for The Queens visit to the West Midlands region on July 11 and 12.

The announcement of The Queens visit is absolutely wonderful news for Shropshire, said Lord Lieutenant Algernon Heber-Percy, the Queens representative in the county.

Its the countys privilege to be able to say thank you to The Queen for everything she has done for the country.

A series of celebrations have already been organised across the county to celebrate the magical 60 years.

Plans are well advanced for a four day programme of events in Ludlow in the run up and during the Royal bank holiday weekend, June 2, 3, 4 and 5.

The plans include a market, flower festival, craft fair, a Prom concert, civic service and parade, 1950s themed dinner and a huge street party, followed by a sporting Olympiad.

Major attractions in the county, including the Ironbridge Gorge Museums and RAF Cosford Museum, will be hosting Jubilee-themed events during the Bank Holiday weekend.

Several organisations and community groups have already applied to light beacons as part of the national chain of beacons, or for street closures in connection with street parties.

And narrowboat Shropshire Lass, of the Ellesmere-based charity Lyneal Trust and manned by a crew including disabled people and their carers, will be part of the magnificent Jubilee flotilla on the Thames.

But the centrepiece of county celebrations will be a huge Diamond Jubilee pageant to be staged at RAF Cosford on July 12.

The event, hailed by Mr Heber-Percy as likely to be the greatest Royal event that Shropshire has ever seen, is expected to attract crowds of up 20,000 people.

Under the banner Sixty Glorious Years, it will be a picnic celebration to remember, involving schoolchildren and organisations from across the county, colourful parades, marching bands, fabulous decorated floats, special hangar exhibitions and much much more. Not only will it mark the Queens incredible 60-year reign, it will also celebrate Shropshires history and achievements over the past six decades.

It will be the greatest Royal event, held in one place, that Shropshire has ever seen, Mr Heber-Percy told Shropshire Life.

It gives us an incredible opportunity to get people throughout the county working together - from young children to the older generations - to show as wide an audience as possible what we as a county have achieved over the last 60 years; all our triumphs, like the growth of Telford, agriculture, volunteering and particularly education and our great faith in our young people who will be taking the county forward into the future.

The Queen in Ironbridge: Looking back at the Queens 2003 visit

Many months of meticulous planning go in to organising Royal visits. Nothing is left to chance.

By the time the Queen steps out of her Royal car to cheering flag-waving crowds, each leg of her visit has been worked out with regimental precision. Every detail has been discussed with Buckingham Palace, every move approved and county organisers have rehearsed and timed the route many times over.

The timing is absolutely fundamental if people are not going to be disappointed and left hanging about, explained Simon Kenyon-Slaney, the deputy chairman of Ironbridge Gorge Trust who was involved in the Queens last visit to Shropshire in 2003.

And the Queen, who is known to be a stickler for punctuality, hates to keep the crowds waiting.

We try and make it as an engaging visit as possible for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and include some things that they have a particular interest in, said Mr Kenyon-Slaney, who was then Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire.

During the 2003 visit, which took in Telford, Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge, Much Wenlock, Craven Arms and Ludlow, the Duke was certainly interested in what he was shown.

He was taken to Coalbrookdale and afterwards we were to meet up with the Queen at the Iron Bridge, so we had a difficult job of synchronising. Protocol requires that the Queen is the last to arrive, said Mr Kenyon-Slaney.

But the Duke of Edinburgh was so interested in what was going on at Coalbrookdale that he kept chatting and they didnt get him down to the bridge until after the Queen had arrived. There was a bit of fist waving!

Between Much Wenlock and Craven Arms the Royal party stopped for a brief visit to see some prized race horses, much to the delight of the Queen who herself is a champion race horse owner.

The tour ended at Ludlow Castle on what was a perfect sunny day. While things ran smoothly for the Royal visitors the Queen serene and unruffled as ever through the entire visit - not all happened as planned in Ludlow for Mr Kenyon-Slaney, whose job it was to escort the Duke. For various reasons the car that was supposed to drive my wife and me from one event to the other couldnt get through, so I had to walk in my official regalia, clanking a sword along the pavement, and arrived at the castle huffing and puffing!

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