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Looking back: The Queen enjoys a whirlwind tour of Brighton
7:10pm Friday 19th July 2013 in News
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip arrived in a maroon helicopter for a whirlwind tour of Brighton and Hove in March 2001.
After the royal helicopter made its slow descent into Shoreham Airport, the Queen and her husband were greeted by scores of children from across the county, each clutching a plastic Union Jack flag.
Before she walked to the car waiting to whisk her on a tour of the city, the Queen made time to mee children from Goldstone Junior School and Knoll Infant School, Hove, who had come out to greet her.
Paris Gibbs, 11, from Whitehawk, was there from Hillside Special School.
She said at the time: “I’m so excited, I’ve never seen anyone from the Royal Family before.”
Amy Johnson, 10, of Aldrington Church of England Primary School, said: “My mum really wishes she could see the Queen, too.”
But the most remarkable part of her tour came later that day when the Queen called into the Brighthelm Centre in Church Street, Brighton, to greet St John’s Ambulance volunteers and Big Issue sellers and bought a Big Issue magazine from unsuspecting Ivan Betson.
Mr Betson, a recovered drug addict rebuilding his life, was shocked when the Queen asked for a Big Issue, and even more so when she pulled a pound out of her purse to pay for her copy – like every other normal person would do.
He said: “I thought the Queen would be a bit stuffy but she was really nice.
“I was asked to give her a copy of The Big Issue.
“I didn’t think she was going to pay for it. I always thought that royalty didn’t carry cash.
“But she said, ‘Oh look what I have got in my hand’ and passed me the pound coin.”
But with the pitter patter of tiny feet, it might be a while before the Royal family find time to revisit Brighton and Hove.
ON THIS DAY
1903: Maurice Garin wins the first Tour de France.
1947: Brian May, English singer-songwriter, musician with rock legends Queen, was born.
1952: The 1952 summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XV Olympiad, were opened in Helsinki, Finland.
1983: The first three-dimensional reconstruction of a human head in a CT is published.
1997: The Provisional Irish Republican Army resumes a ceasefire to end their 25-year campaign to end British rule in Northern Ireland.
The Argus’ popular “Looking Back” feature has been compiled into an A4, soft back book which catalogues the events that have made their mark on the people of Sussex. The fascinating archive of “Looking Back” images dates back to the 1930s when The Argus first started to print photographs. The book costs £6.99 including postage and packing. To order please visit theargus.co.uk/store
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