Queen’s visit to Harold Hill draws crowd from near and far

Her Majesty’s visit to Harold Hill today (Friday October 26) was an international affair.

Susana Gretschman, 54, originally from Uruguay, and husband Timothy, 52, from the USA, were visiting Havering from Spain - where they now live.

The pair have friends on the Hill because they previously worked with the Harold Hill Evangelical Church in the 1990s.

“I’ve never seen a royal before up close,” said Tim. “It’s really exciting.”

The cold snap couldn’t stop those determined to see Harold Hill’s first Royal visit today.

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Among those who made the effort were even those who said they “weren’t especially Royalist” like Betty Davey, 73, of Grange Road.

She said: “It’s a shame it’s not a bit warmer, but it’s good that she’s here, it shows that she’ll come to smaller places rather than big city centres - although there are a lot of people in Harold Hill - it gives everyone a chance to see her.

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“I remember the coronation, I was living in Ilford at the time and I got to see it on TV.”

Even former staff were back at Drapers’ Academy to see the Queen.

Carol Russell, 61, of Pembridge Road, who worked as a midday assistant at the school and its predecessor Kings Wood School for 23 years was in the crowd to see Her Majesty.

She said: “The school is brilliant. When I saw it at first I thought from the outside it looked a bit like a prison, but inside it is absolutely fantastic. It’s wonderful she’s here, Harold Hill needs a boost.”

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