Region’s business and political leaders share their memories of The Queen

The Queen officially opened BBC Studios at MediaCity in 2012

From visiting places of interest, hospitals to opening ceremonies, during her reign The Queen visited the North West region on many occasions.

She had a keen willingness to engage not only with the public, but also with dignitaries, local politicians, and many of the region’s business leaders.

The Queen’s countless visits to the region include the opening of the Metrolink in Manchester to the opening of the Commonwealth Games.

She was also in the region to officially cut the ribbon on BBC’s MediaCity development at Salford Quays in 2012.

Here, some of the region’s business and political leaders recount their stories of meeting Queen Elizabeth II.

Labour councillor, Frank Prendergast, was Lord Mayor of Liverpool in 2011-12 and met the Queen on two occasions, during her visit to the city, and when he was awarded his MBE at Buckingham Palace in 2015.

He recounted: “We wanted to do something different for her visit so had the idea to organise a trip on the Liverpool Duck boat that did tours of the Albert Dock. That way more people could see her.”

The journey began and Mr Prendergast said: “I was sat behind her and as it entered the water she became worried because of all the smoke and we were so low down in the water. She said ‘I’m a bit wary of this’.”

The voyage passed uneventfully. However, the following year the boat sank and 31 passengers had to be rescued.

In 2015, Mr Prendergast received his MBE from the Queen and he said: “As I approached she began smiling and said ‘I recognise you, weren’t you on the Duck?’

“I replied, yes – it sank a while after, and we both had a real belly laugh about it.

“Everyone who got a medal that day got about 30 seconds – I got two-and-a-half minutes.”

He added: “She said how much she loved Liverpool, and the people.

“I found her very interesting, warm, knowledgable, and polite. I am from Liverpool city centre, but she spoke to me as an equal.”

Sir John Timpson, chairman of the eponymous Manchester-based retail chain, issued a letter to staff marking the Monarch’s passing, which he said: “I was privileged to have met The Queen on two occasions.

“The second time was when she presented me with my Knighthood at Buckingham Palace, when she asked me questions about our business. She was on great form and, despite her age, was considerably more agile than me.

“I was at primary school when The Queen came to the throne and, like all school children, I was given a Coronation mug as a memento.

“I lost that mug a long time ago, but I will never lose my memories of The Queen as a shining role model for us all to follow.

“In particular, she demonstrated the importance of personal contact by going round the country to meet her people face to face.

“This is a very sad time as we recognise The Queen’s achievements and express our sympathy at their loss to King Charles and other members of the Royal Family.”

Chris Oglesby, chair of Manchester property group Bruntwood, said: “Our family and business have had the good fortune to meet the Queen on a number of occasions through our philanthropy and, despite the breadth of her activities, we always found her to be engaged, interested and charming whatever our interaction.

“Her Majesty’s legacy will live on through her family and the countless lives she has touched across the globe. Our thoughts are with her family during this time.”

John Whittaker, Executive Chairman of The Peel Group, said: “I had the privilege of meeting Her Majesty a number of years ago and have the utmost respect for the dedication she has shown to our country during her remarkable reign.

“Her loss will be felt by so many across the world and my thoughts and prayers are with Her Majesty’s family at this very difficult time.”

Ged Mason OBE, chief executive of Salford-based Morson Group, spoke about meeting the Queen several times.

In an online tribute he said: “At this sad time, I wish to extend my condolences, thoughts and prayers to the Royal Family on behalf of my family and colleagues at the Morson Group. Having had the honour of meeting the Queen a number of times.

“I can personally attest to her warmth and flawless work ethic. Bound by our love of horses and equestrian pursuits, it was a surreal, life highlight when we last met at Paul Nicholls stables in 2019, as she fed Clan Des Obeaux a carrot having won the King George race.

“Our Queen has navigated this country through highs and lows with honest, intelligent, and consistent stewardship and has been an inspiration to me and so many.

“May our Majesty rest in peace and thank you Ma’am for all you have done for the country you loved.”

Sandy Lindsay, founder and chair of Tangerine met The Queen at the launch of Leigh Sports Village in 2009 and won her over within seconds.

She said: “She was a true leader, selfless, devoted & genuinely interested. I met her and we chatted briefly many years ago and I was besotted.

“Whatever your thoughts on the Monarchy, you can’t question her devotion to duty and lifelong commitment. Rest in peace Your Majesty and thank you.”

Finally, on a personal note, during another visit to Liverpool, the Queen managed to literally stop a gang of young punks in their tracks, with her sheer charisma and charm.

I was covering her visit to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in 1990 for the orchestra’s 150th anniversary celebrations as a young reporter for the Liverpool ECHO, and five minutes prior to the end of the programme I left and took up position opposite the hall to check her departure passed safely.

As she emerged and headed for the Royal Standard-bearing Rolls Royce, a gang of pierced-nosed punks, replete with obligatory black leather jackets bearing Anarchy symbols, and Mohican cuts, approached along Hope Street.

On sighting the Queen they stopped, transfixed, and watched her motorcade glide into the night in stunned, silent awe. A Monarch to all her people.

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