The Queen’s visit to Teesside
19th July 2012
FIVE thousand Teessiders turned out to see the Queen officially open the new Olympic-standard white water course which now bears her name.
She was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh as she visited Stockton yesterday for a visit. Dressed in a peach coat and matching hat, the Queen smiled and waved to schoolchildren who lined Tees Barrage to greet and present her with flowers.
She was then given a tour of the white water rafting course – which has just undergone redevelopment – before speaking to its users, including Zach Allin.
The 14-year-old Tees Active Leisure member said: “She asked me if the sport was enjoyable.
“I said ‘Yes, it’s exciting’. I’ll never forget this.”
At around 3.40pm, the monarch detonated an explosive which caused water to flood into the new Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee White Water Course.
After watching a flotilla of canoeists and swimmers go round, the Queen listened to a performance by North-east-based Cobweb Orchestra of a piece written to commemorate the opening.
And when she unveiled a plaque marking her visit, cheers and an impromptu rendition of the National Anthem swept through crowds enjoying the spectacle in the sunshine.
Stockton Mayor Councillor Lynne Apedaile said: “It was an absolutely fabulous day. It means the world to Stockton that she came – and to be introduced to the Queen was very special.”
Hundreds of Stockton school pupils were invited to the opening, including Sophia Eken, from Tilery Primary School.
“The best bit was when she came past in the car,” said the 10-year-old. “I’m going to tell everyone.”
Grace Dobson, 11, added: “It was really exciting waiting for the Queen. I’ll remember this day for the rest of my life.”