09:07AM, Wednesday 10 October 2012
Impressed gasps greeted the unveiling by the Queen of Windsor's long awaited diamond jubilee tribute yesterday.
It had been designed by Windsor Girls' School pupil Caroline Basra, 15 and stands in the middle of the King Edward Court shopping centre.
The Queen arrived slightly late and met dignitaries including the Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead Cllr Colin Rayner and Windsor's MP Adam Afriyie, as well as contributors from the Michael Shanly Trust, the Louis Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Trust, Windsor's two Rotary clubs, the Royal Borough and Town Partnership.
She stood only feet away from members of Windsor Girls' School Choir, as they sang Somewhere from West Side Story. Then, after delivering a beaming smile to the girls, she pulled away the lush covering to unveil the 59 gleaming stainless steel spheres and one lit up glass sphere as a fanfare played.
In a speech made just before the unveiling Andrew Melville, chairman of Windsor's Diamond Jubilee committee and a leading organiser of the Windsor and Eton Society competition to design the tribute, paid tribute to the youthful designer. He said: "I'm delighted that the inspiration for this tribute came from such a young member of the community."
The Queen chatted to Caroline after the unveiling, asking her if she planned to study art in the future.
Youth was very much in evidence. Windsor Boys and Girls' School combined band entertained the crowds as they waited for the Queen.
The youngest in the crowd may have been two-year-old Charlie Dewdney who presented her with a bouquet. He was with his babysitter Julie McCarthy-Fox, a fan of the Queen who had travelled from Horsham.
Julie said: "Charlie has seen the Queen with me before. This is the first time he has presented his own bouquet."
Personal donations to the diamond jubilee tribute were made by: Eton Porny School, Windsor and Eton Inner Wheel, Akzo Nobel ICI Paints, Windsor and Eton Society, Heathrow Airport Ltd, New Look Retailers Ltd, Louis Baylis Trust (Maidenhead Advertiser), Berkshire Masonic Trust, Windsor St George Rotary, Windsor and Eton Rotary, the Viceroy of Windsor, Ground Waste Management Ltd, Windsor and Eton Round Table, Michael Shanly Trust, Windsor Girls School, Prince Philip Trust, Waitrose, Windsor Parish Church.