Her Majesty The Queen greeted by sea of red, white and blue on visit to Newmarket to unveil statue and visit £15m heritage centre

The Queen visiting Newmarket to unveil a sculpture. Picture: Keith Jones

The Queen visiting Newmarket to unveil a sculpture. Picture: Keith Jones - Credit: Archant

Newmarket was a sea of red, white and blue as the Queen visited the town in her 91st year.

Sixty five army cadets Soham, Newmarket, Ely, and Waterbeach were among those on the High Street to welcome her.

The town council had spent £25,000 on preparations – including thousands of flags handed out to schoolchildren beforehand – and it clearly showed.

Newmarket mayor Andy Drummond called it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and it more than lived up to the hype.

Her principal role was to unveil a statue of herself with a mare and foal in Birdcage Walk.

The bronze statue depicts the Queen in 1977, the year of her Silver Jubilee. It is cast in bronze and set on a plinth of Portland Stone. It portrays Her Majesty with a mare and foal, at 120 per cent life size.

Her Majesty then travelled down the High Street, where thousands of well-wishers gathered to wave their flags.

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Upon arrival at the recently-opened National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, the Queen went on a tour and then unveiled a plaque in the King’s Yard.

Those who met her during the visit were enthusiastic about the final seal of approval on the £15m heritage centre – £5m of which came as a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“After many years of hard work, sweat and tears the centre has been delivered and recognised at the utmost level,” said Forest Heath District Council leader James Waters afterwards.