Bedford remembers: Her Majesty the Queen’s visits to our Borough

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Queen Elizabeth II opens Cygnet Wing in 1996

With the passing of our Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II yesterday, Bedford has been remembering the times she visited Bedford Borough.

She has been to Bedfordshire several times, but more specifically came to Bedford Borough twice.

On these visits, The Queen, with Prince Philip by her side, met local people, visited schools, planted a tree and visited the maternity ward at Bedford Hospital.

On 11 May 1976, The Queen and Prince Philip visited John Bunyan School, the Bunyan Centre, County Hall, and an old people’s home in Putnoe before visiting Bedford Modern School.

The queen visiting Bedford Modern School Manton Lane site 11 May 1976 Image Bedford Modern School
HRH the Queen visiting Bedford Modern School’s Manton Lane site on 11 May 1976. Image: Bedford Modern School

Here they planted a commemorative oak tree to mark the opening of the new Bedford Modern School site on Manton Lane.

The Ousel, Bedford school’s magazine for former pupils, reported at the time that the Queen and Prince Philip then drove with the Duke and Sir John Howard through the Modern School’s playing field in an open Land-Rover.

Her route was lined by pupils and staff of the other three Harpur Trust Schools and before taking her final leave she was introduced to four senior monitors.

The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) provided a Guard of Honour and the school band played the national anthem.

Earlier that day she also met staff and pupils from the four Harpur Trust schools.

The queen visiting Bedford Modern School Manton Lane site 11 May 1976 with then Bedford School headmaster, Ian (CIM) Jones. Image Bedford School
The queen and Prince Philip visiting Bedford Modern School’s Manton Lane site on 11 May 1976, with the then Bedford School headmaster, Ian ‘CIM’ Jones. Image: Bedford School

Bedford Hospital

On 21 November 1996, preparations were being made, staff briefed, shoes shined and excitement was growing in the newly decorated corridors of the Cygnet Wing at Bedford Hospital

Read: Bedford Hospital staff remember the day Her Majesty the Queen opened Cygnet Wing

This staff were preparing for a day unlike any other; the day Her Majesty the Queen came to Bedford Hospital.

“I am proud to say I was present on that special day,” said ANC midwife Paula Rose.

“I remember all available staff standing on the landings as she walked up the stairs, she had a big smile and seemed very happy to see us all. It was a day to remember, happy times.”

Queen Elizabeth II opens Cygnet Wing in 1996. Image: Bedford Hospital

For many, it was a day they will never forget.

Consultant paediatrician Oseiwa Kwapong remembers, “There was a real buzz in the air that day, everyone was so happy and proud.

“We were proud to have a new building and we were incredibly honoured to have HM Queen Elizabeth II meet us and officially open it. Such happy memories for all of us involved.”

 
 
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