Alnwick in Royal party mood

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Northumberland’s county town is bedecked with flags as festive spirit grips Alnwick in preparation for one of the most prestigious Royal visits in its history tomorrow.

Shop windows and businesses have been decorated and the excitement is growing as people eagerly await the arrival of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Blue and yellow bunting festoons the streets giving a Royal Alnwick welcome in the town’s colours.

Arriving at Alnmouth Station at 10am on the Royal train, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness will travel into the town along Alnmouth Road, South Road, Bondgate Without and up to Green Batt to officially open Alnwick’s new youth hostel.

Hosted by the Duchess of Northumberland, Lord Lieutenant of the county, and accompanied by Deputy Lord Lieutenant Alan Shearer, the Queen will then meet carers and volunteers in a special party at Alnwick Garden to highlight the invaluable work they do.

After a short lunch, the Queen will then take a walkabout in the town centre, meeting members of the public on Bondgate Within.

There will be a series of rolling road closures between 10am and 3pm and the majority of the town centre will be closed until after the Royals depart.

The police marine unit has also been spotted in the town and officers have been seen securing drain covers, which have been numbered, throughout the centre.

Following the visit, Alan Shearer will cut a cake to celebrate the event at aroun 2.30pm in The Alnwick Garden, surrounded by representatives of local businesses who have helped to support the day. The cake, created by Greggs, will be made of sponge and royal icing and, once cut, will be shared with those present.

Ken McMeikan, Greggs chief executive, said: “Our team of bakers is really excited about making the cake for such a wonderful occasion. We hope everyone enjoys it on what promises to be a fantastic, special event and we are honoured to be involved.”

The Lord Lieutenant, The Duchess of Northumberland, said: “It has been quite something to plan and arrange this event, particularly in a year of some national uncertainty financially, but thanks to the huge contribution and support of local businesses, of which Greggs is one example of many, the event has not cost the county council any money.

“We have had the opportunity to thank volunteers and carers from across Northumberland for their enormous contribution, tireless work and dedication for the greater good of the community and have been honoured with the presence of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to reaffirm this.”