The Queen opens new fire station designed by crew
Proud firefighters and their families have showed off their new station to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at its official opening.
Crowds were waiting for the royal couple outside the new station, on Horsley's Fields, King's Lynn, Norfolk, in the biting cold.
Well-wishers and children from nearby St Michael's Primary School waved flags and cheered as the Queen and Duke arrived.
The Queen had wrapped up well in a sand-coloured Karl Ludwig wool and angora coat, with a matching hat by the late Philip Somerville.
The royal couple were met by the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Richard Jewson and Norfolk's chief fire officer Nigel Williams, who showed them around the new station.
The facility will speed up response times to emergencies to the south and west of Lynn, because appliances will not have to battle their way through town centre traffic.
The Queen and Duke met firefighters who crew the rescue boat and raft which will be based at the new station.
Firefighter Mark Endersby, who has been in the service 15 years, talked them through their role.
"The Duke was very interested in it, he was asking what does this do, what does that do," he said.
Both craft were deployed during the 2003 storm surge, when flood waters threatened King's Lynn and its surrounding coast and waterways.
The Queen and Duke were shown Randy an artificial horse used to train crews in animal or so-called 'technical' rescues - a common emergency in the Fens.
The Royal couple met young people from the Prince's Trust, who work alongside firefighters and members of the Hunstanton fire cadets.
Cadet Scott Jarman, 17, from Lynn, said: "It was a special moment."
He added: "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 met firefighters from the station, before unveiling a plaque to marks its official opening.
Mr Williams said both the plaque, and portraits of themselves which the couple signed, would have pride of place at the station.
As the couple left, the Queen was presented with a posy by Mia Donley, nine, from Shouldham, Her father, crew manager Dale Cammidge, has recently returned to fighting fires after taking a year off to fight throat cancer.
"She said are those for me? Thank you very much," said Mia, who admitted to a few nerves beforehand.
Mia's mother Lisa, who was watching with her elder daughter Courtney, 13, said: "I had tears in my eyes. It was such a one-off moment."
The Queen and Duke spent half an hour at the station. Afterwards station commander Bob Ayers said: "I thought it went very well. The Queen and Duke were on fine form, asking some challenging questions of the crews.
"The Queen showed a lot of interest in the water rescue side of things. Overall, it's good for the station, it marks the official start for the station."
West Norfolk mayor Barry Ayres said: "It's really put the stamp on this, which is such an important building for the town."
Sue Neal, from North Lynn, waited outside with her husband John while their son John Charles, a a retained firefighter, lined up with his crewmates.
"It's a day I'll never forget," she said. "I'm so proud, I just cried."