by Zjan Shirinian, News Editor
Thursday, March 29, 2012
A huge roar from the crowd greeted the Queen as she stepped into Valentines Park this morning, and for the next 40 minutes Her Majesty was shown Ilford at its very best.
Thousands of people welcomed the Queen as she made the short walk from her car to Valentines Mansion, with Union Jacks being waved with vigour.
She spent about 40 minutes touring the grounds of Valentines Mansion, before waving farewell as members of the Redbridge Youth Choir sang With a Voice of Singing, by Martin Shaw.
To view pictures of the Queen’s visit, click on the link at the top right of this page.
Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh on the first London leg of her Diamond Jubilee tour, the Queen first viewed exhibits inside a Design Marquee.
She was shown a television from the 1970s and a computer from the 1990s, remarking: “How things change.”
Her Majesty then stepped inside Valentines Mansion, watching children play and draw.
She also spoke to 14-year-old Alex Rose, who was having a portrait of himself painted by his dad Jason, 46, when the Queen walked by.
Alex said afterwards: “She remarked on the painting and asked me how old I was and how many times I’ve sat for my dad.
“I said I got the day off because I told my school [King Solomon High] that I was going to wear my school uniform.
“She was properly laughing. It was a good conversation. She was very chatty.”
As the Queen stepped out from Valentines Mansion, another huge roar from the crowds greeted her.
She looked at artwork called The Queen’s Beasts and a Mini decorated by artist Damien Hirst before shaking hands with people in the crowd, many of who gave her flowers.
Later, the Queen stepped inside a School Art Marquee housing work by students from across Redbridge.
Hiran Adhia, who represented Ilford County High, talked the Queen through a canvas made from stamps spanning the last 60 years, which was put together by students. The canvas formed the Queen’s head.
The 17-year-old said after his conversation with the Queen: “I asked her if she thought it was a good likeness.
“She took a step back and said, ‘yes, it does look like me’.
“She said you can pick up a couple of key figures [on the canvas].
“I said I enjoyed making it but I’m sick of stamps now!
“I think she wanted to say: ‘I’m not too keen on them myself’.”
He added: “I was nervous beforehand but that all went away when she came in.
“I just though I’d take a chance and talk to her.”
The Queen then unveiled a plaque at a newly created dry garden before being entertained by the Redbridge Youth Choir ahead of her departure.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “It’s fantastic the Queen has come to Redbridge to launch her Diamond Jubilee tour.
“I think Redbridge Council has put on the most amazing display.
“It was brilliantly organised and everyone enjoyed themselves.”
Were you at Valentines Park today? Tell us about your experience by tweeting us @ilfordrecorder, emailing email@example.com, or calling 020 8477 3800.
You can also post your pictures to london.iwitness24.co.uk and they could find their way into our souvenir supplement being published in next week’s Ilford Recorder.