Redbridge pupils relish their royal close-ups

King Solomon High student Richard Gold had time on his hands when the Queen visited Valentines Park in Redbridge with the Duke of Edinburgh as her diamond jubilee tour reached London.

Richard presented the royal couple with a clock made from wood from the park. He and Melanie Shutz, the school's head of informal Jewish and community education, recited the brachah made on seeing a monarch.

"I handed the gift to her, to which she responded: 'How kind of you,'" Richard said. "I replied: 'You are welcome Ma'am.' And that was my big moment. Luckily I wasn't speechless."

Pupils chosen to sit close to the Queen included Jasmine Howes, 11, from Ilford Jewish Primary and Clore Tikva eight-year-old Cassie Bell.

Jasmine said "the atmosphere was amazing. Everyone around me was excited and smiling. The best bit was when she came into the grounds and everyone was cheering."

When former RAF man Maurice Conway, 87, spoke to Prince Philip about his wartime experiences, "he told me I was very lucky to be alive".

Kol Chai Hatch End community's Rabbi Dr Michael Hilton was one of 11 interfaith leaders who met the Queen on her subsequent visit to Harrow.

    Last updated: 9:56am, April 10 2012