The Queens Visit
In June 2008 HRM Queen Elizabeth the second, Queen of England visited the town of Whitehaven. Everyone was out in force to celebrate this once in a lifetime occasion! Police were drafted in and barriers set up closing all main roads in the town. The public watched and cheered on as the Queen arrived.
The main reason the Queen visited was to mark the 100th anniversary of Whitehaven town and harbour as well as to open the newly refurbished Beacon which had just closed to undergo a multi million pound refurbishment. She visited the 'historic town and harbour' on Thursday 5th June 2008. A whopping 10,000+ people turned out to see the Queen (union jacks in tow!) On the day most of the towns businesses decorated their shops with the red, white and blue theme to welcome her. Whitehaven Maritime Festival Company (the people who organize and run the annual Whitehaven Festival) organized the visit. Gerard Richardson chief executive of The Whitehaven Maritime Festival Company was one of those who applied for the Royal Visit. A big security operation was in place during her visit to the town with 80 police officers drafted in from other stations across the county. The Queen officially opened the newly refurbished Beacon. She then walked down to her Bentley and on her way down received a guard of honor by the sea cadets. The day will not only mark the 300th anniversary of the town and harbour but will also mark the links with John Paul Jones who was officially pardoned in 1999.
10:45 AM the Queen received a short ceremony and parade on the harbour side including a Colour Party made up of the Royal Navy and the US Navy.
11:20 An RAF air show was organized which the Queen really enjoyed!
AT about 1 pm was the official reopening of the harbour commissioners new boat building facility which was opened by captain Jeff Miller, Us Naval attache to the UK.
Crowds gathered along Quay street to catch a glimpse of the Queen and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh as she turned up the road in her escorted convoy to the Beacon. As the car went up the ramp on the harbour side towards the beacon the duke of Edinburgh could be seen waving to enthusiastic school children. The Queen then exited the car and walked to the Beacon door accompanied by the Duke and Lord Lieutenant. Before she entered the Beacon the Queen was greeted by the Mayor and M.P for Copeland Keith Hitchen and Jamie Reid M.P. The Queen was reported to have been very interested in the Beacon gallery and the Panoramic view of whitehaven from the top as she was shown around by Beacon manager Sue Palmer.
Images (C) Chris Gurney.