Queen Elizabeth’s visit inspired thousands of people to come out into the Manchester sunshine this morning to support Her Majesty on the second day of her nationwide jubilee tour.
Hundreds of eager supporters were waiting at 9:45am, having arrived early to catch a glimpse of the Queen arriving at Manchester Victoria station on the jubilee train.
Volunteers from the Royal British Legion and the Scouts lined up with flags in preparation to salute her as she passed.
At 10:30am to deafening cheers and choruses of God Save the Queen, Her Royal Highness, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, arrived in Manchester.
The Queen, wearing a soft pink coat and hat, was greeted on platform 3a by cadets from the RAF, the Navy and the Army, as well as Manchester dignitaries.
She made her way through the crowds of well-wishers bearing gifts, flowers and banners, out towards the waiting cars, stopping briefly to admire the volunteer’s medals and to smile at her supporters.
May Murray, a retired teacher from Prestwich, was among those waiting to catch a glimpse. Mrs Murray spoke to Mancunian Matters about seeing the Queen during a visit to a Wigan school in the 1980s.
Mrs Murray, who taught there, said: “She was much younger then of course, and she was such a lovely woman. All the children were so excited to see her and so was I.”
The Queen’s visit then took her to open Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital and a new wing at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
Again hundreds of people greeted her arrival, clapping, cheering and waving union flags.
She spent time touring the atrium of the site and chatting to staff before enjoying a specially-commissioned performance by musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music.
Her visit ended with the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the new facilities and she was once again greeted by sunshine and smiles as she left the hospital.
At 11:30am the Queen arrived in Salford and was taken on a tour of Media City, where she officially opened the BBC North Complex at the quay.
Thousands of people enjoyed the hazy sunshine and convivial atmosphere in the piazza, some choosing to watch BBC coverage of the action on the Media City big screen.
Hundreds of school children waved union jacks outside the Studio building, squealing with excitement whenever they caught sight of Her Majesty.
Six hundred runners for the BBC Sports Relief mile chatted excitedly while they warmed up for the big event. Many were wearing elaborate fancy dress costumes and face paint.
Lancashire County Cricket Club (LCCC) staff were excited to take part in the race. They were running on behalf of the cricket team, who had planned to take part but were on their pre-season tour in Abu Dhabi.
LCCC sales manager, Peter Ash, said: “We have brought our mascot Lanky the Giraffe with us to run the mile. We will need to keep him hydrated as he is used to a much hotter climate!”
After completing her tour of the BBC, the Queen walked out onto the Sports Relief plinth to raise the flag and signal the start of the run.
The race got off to a flying start with an explosion of fireworks and confetti as hundreds of red and white balloons were released into the sky.
Some runners were so caught up in waving to the Queen and taking photos that Prince Phillip could be heard telling them to ‘hurry along now’.
After the race MM caught up with BBC’s Mastermind employees, Rebecca Gayle and Lizzie Foster, who had both taken part.
Ms Gayle said of the Queen: “She was smiling away on the plinth, it was really nice. It might be the last chance we get to see her so it’s quite a monumental occasion.”
Ms Foster added: “The Queen does a great job. Everyone’s attention here has been focused on the piazza all day but we’ve got to go back to work now!”
Due to the size of the crowds, some visitors to Salford missed out on seeing the Queen altogether.
Peter Lynn, who works in Salford, was too far behind the throngs of supporters to see anything.
He said: “I’m cross about it, really very disappointed. You needed a place at the front really.”
Most of the crowd were left smiling however as they headed home in the sunshine or celebrated completing the run with a super-sized victory conga line.
In Manchester city centre crowds had gathered in the afternoon sunshine to await the appearance of Her Majesty following her lunch with dignitaries and guests at Manchester Town Hall in Albert’s Square.
Crowds chatted excitedly and young children ate ice-creams as the Town Hall bells rang out at 2:45pm.
Minutes later the Queen emerged from the building and was met by six-year-old Andrew Wilding who presented her with a posy. Shouts of ‘Three cheers for the Queen!’ erupted as she greeted the public.
After a look around the new Jubilee Gardens, which will be relocated to Exchange Square in time for the Olympics, the Queen spent some time chatting with members of the public, including one enthusiastic gentleman who was dressed in a union jack hat and jacket.
Not all of the people gathered there were thrilled to see Queen Elizabeth though. A group of protesters, Republic, carried banners and picket signs citing anti-monarchy slogans such as ‘Make Monarchy history’.
Republic is a 20,000 strong campaigning group who attempt to persuade the British public to support the democratic alternative to the Monarchy.
Republic organiser for the North West, Rory Evans, 47, said: “It’s not that I don’t want her or Prince Phillip to be our head of state, it’s that they haven’t been elected by the people of this country and aren’t politically impartial- Prince Charles has been known to meddle in political affairs.”
As the Queen left the Jubilee Gardens, MM spoke to sculpture designers Tim and Andy Burgess, 56 and 37, who created the wooden centrepiece of the garden using a chainsaw.
They said: “When Prince Phillip saw the sculpture he was pleasantly surprised, pondering ‘Chainsaw… Chainsaw!’ after eyeing up the piece.”
Peter Roughan, a veteran from Bury who served for the Lancashire Fusiliers and Royal Engineers, attended the luncheon with the Queen at Manchester Town Hall today.
Mr Roughan was one of two-hundred people invited that was held at 1pm. Others in attendance were Sir Bobby Charlton, Tim and Andy Burgess, who carved the ‘Oak Leaf Throne’, that stands in the Jubilee Garden commemorating the Queen’s visit and Jeremy Myers, the organiser of the volunteer clean-up scheme of the city following the riots last summer.
Mr Roughan, who seemed in high spirits, said: “They weren’t all high profile people, they were common people, like us.”
The menu was twice baked Lancashire cheese soufflé, Steak and venison pudding and apple and elderflower posset. The spread was chosen by the Queen and prepared by Town Hall staff.
Mr Roughan’s daughter Sue accompanied him and of the lunch she said: “The portions were quite small.”
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Harry Lyons, hosted the event and toasted the Queen.
Prince Phillip joined the celebrations with a glass of local light ale.
Mr Roughan was based in Cairo from 1946-48, where he climbed the Egyptian pyramids.
He said: “They won’t let you do it now. Too many have fallen off.”
He was also the Treasurer of the Bury Local History Society and ran the Bury St Edmunds Art Club for forty years.
He was just one of the many eclectic people assembled outside Manchester Central today, but as the Queen’s car rolled up at the entrance at 3.20 pm, they delivered a collective ‘whoa’ Manchester would not have seen for quite some time.
Travel agents Meranda and Jennifer, aged 23 and 25, said they were there because “it’s amazing that she does so much for someone at 86 years old.”
Whereas David Lloyd George will always be associated by the Great War and Winston Churchill with World War II, they both said, the Queen will be remembered for presiding over the entirety of the Cold War, the Troubles, and the beginnings of the War on Terror.
“Unlike some dirty politicians, she isn’t douchey,” Jennifer quipped.
Observing the plurality of peoples around her, Frances McLoughlin from Macclesfield cited the unifying of peoples as an example of how Her Majesty is still ‘the best that Britain has to offer’.
She had seen the Queen before during her 25th Jubilee in London, and said she admired the wonderful woman for retaining ‘her same elegance, her spirit of service, and unswavering loyalty’.
She said: “She’s up and beyond party politics, by representaing the nation and not the government. She’s a pillar of trustworthiness and her deeply Christian values are to be admired and emulated.”