It was a “proud” day for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service today (Monday) when the Queen offically opened Lynn’s second fire station.
Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, she unveiled a plaque to commemorate the grand opening of the £2 million South Lynn Fire Station in Horsley’s Fields.
Designed with the help of firefighters, the station’s location near the main A47 and A17 will reduce emergency response times as appliances don’t have to battle through town centre traffic.
The Queen, dressed in a camel coat and hat, was welcomed by the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Mr Richard Jewson.
Her Majesty and His Royal Highness then met Norfolk’s chief fire officer, Nigel Williams, who introduced some of Lynn’s firefighters, youngsters on the Prince’s Trust programme and a number of Fire Service cadets.
Cadet Scott Jarman, 17, from Lynn, said: “It was a special moment. The Duke asked do we start fires and put them out? I said no, we don’t.
“The Queen asked me if I’d like to join the fire service and I said: ‘Absolutely’.”
The Queen and Duke were given a tour of the station and crews demonstrated equipment including the rescue boat, which was deployed during the December 2013 tidal surge.
They were also shown “Randy” an artificial horse used to train crews in animal or so-called ‘technical’ rescues – a common emergency in the Fens.
The couple also signed portraits of themselves, which Mr Williams said would take “pride of place” in the station.
Speaking after the event, station manager Bob Ayres said the visit was a “huge success”.
He said: “We had fantastic weather which was a relief, and it was great to see so many people, along with youngsters from St Michael’s School and Twinkle Tots nursery.
“The Queen and Duke expressed a lot of interest in the work that we do and spent a lot of time chatting to the crews, cadets and young people on our Princes Trust programme.
“It was a great honour for those of us who work in Lynn but for the brigade as a whole it was a very proud day.”
Three children from each of the year groups at South Lynn’s St Michael’s Church of England Primary School attended the event, and waved flags as the royal couple arrived, along with 29 youngsters wearing handmade crowns from Twinkle Tots nursery, also based in Horsley’s Fields.
Jane Klyn, who owns the nursery with Kelly Rye, said: “We were getting ready for the visit all last week.
“We made crowns and put banners up and this morning we’ve been making cakes for a Royal tea party.
“It’s a great experience for them to see the Queen.”
Among a crowd of around 100 people was Elizabeth Branch-Hollis, who had travelled from Littleport, near Ely, on the first day of her holiday especially for the occasion.
She said: “I heard about it on the news this morning and thought I’d come over.
“I love her, she is what England is all about.
“I have seen her sister and Prince Philip before, but it’s the first time I’ve seen the Queen. I’m very excited.
“I think she is fantastic. She does so much for the country, it wouldn’t be the same without her.”
Eunice Turner was also hoping to present flowers to the Queen before returning home to St Neots later in the day after a long weekend break.
She said: “I found out by chance that she was coming here today, which was great as I go home today. I’ve never seen her before so I’m very excited.”