As excitement builds in anticipation of the visit of Her Majesty the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex, Halton Borough Council is revealing more details about the event and how young people will be at the centre of the celebrations.
On the morning of Thursday 14 June, Her Majesty and the Duchess of Sussex will carry out their first engagement together when they visit Halton to officially open the Mersey Gateway Bridge.
Having arrived at Runcorn Station, they will travel to the Catalyst Science and Discovery Museum, where the opening event will take place in full view of the iconic bridge.
Guests will include many of those who have helped to make the bridge a reality including local politicians, partners from across the region, community volunteers, staff from the construction consortium and operating teams.
But front and centre on the day, will be around 600 local primary school children, who have been invited to join in the celebrations. In anticipation of the day, children and teachers have been sharing their thoughts:
Maya Neal, Age 9, from Victoria Road Primary School, Runcorn said:
“I am so excited to be able to see the Queen and the Duchess because it is a once in a life time opportunity. I feel very lucky that our school was chosen to take part.”
Karl Landrum Headteacher at St Gerard’s Catholic Primary and Nursery School from school said:
“It is a honour for our children to be able to witness the official opening of the bridge which is only a few minutes away from our school and therefore part of our school community; I wish all of the organisers lots of luck with such an exciting event for Halton.”
Amelia, Luke, Grace and Mason, Yr 4 pupils at All Saints Upton said:
“We can’t believe we are getting the opportunity to see the opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge. We have loved watching it get built. We have waited our whole lives to see royalty and now get to see the Queen and the Duchess of Susex so soon after seeing her wedding.”
One local schoolchild, Savannah Cafferty, whose birthday falls on the the day the Mersey Gateway opened to traffic – will have an extra special role on the day, presenting a posy to one of the royal party, she said:
“When I found out I was going to have a special job on the day I asked ‘Why me?’ I am really happy and excited as the Queen is like a Mother to Britain and she has helped us through trouble. My nan was at the opening of the Silver Jubilee Bridge.”
Savannah’s proud Head Teacher at Farnworth CE Primary School said:
“The opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge is a special moment in Halton’s history and I am thrilled that children from my school will be part of this historic event. The Bridge has made travelling from Widnes to Runcorn and beyond so much easier and it is a spectacular sight in itself. It makes me proud to be a Halton resident knowing that HRH, the Queen and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are marking the opening of this bridge.”
In addition, local school children will perform a specially commissioned performance of dance and movement, directed by the locally based, Andrew Curphey Theatre Company. Entitled “Bringing Communities together: Bridges of Halton”. The moving piece features 80 children and young people from schools across the borough and tells the story of the many crossings that have existed over the Mersey connecting Widnes and Runcorn through the ages.
On the day, access around Runcorn Station and at the Catalyst Science and Discovery Museum will be restricted. However, members of the public who want to see the Royal party, are advised to go as close as is safely possible to Runcorn Station and Catalyst Science and Discovery Centre. Stewards and the Police will be in both areas for crowd management.
The public is reminded that cyclists and pedestrians are prohibited from the Mersey Gateway Bridge.