Blackpool has bagged one of the first royal visits of Diamond Jubilee year proper.
Barely has the ink dried on Blackpool Pleasure Beach company secretary and director David Cam’s appointment as deputy lieutenant, he’s shaped the itinerary for Tuesday’s visit by HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
David explains: “I know he’s a family man and has a real interest in entertainment and young people, so the itinerary reflects that. We should feel enormously honoured that Blackpool is getting one of the first visits of the Diamond Jubilee year proper.”
Elizabeth II was crowned on June 2, 1953, in Westminster Abbey but acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952, when her father died. The British throne is never left vacant so the new monarch succeeds the old monarch immediately, the coronation allowing a sufficient period of mourning.
The Earl, recently revealed as the successor to the Duke of Edinburgh title, starts a two day tour of Lancashire on Monday. That night he attends a Duke of Edinburgh Awards dinner in Blackburn, before heading to Bowland, one of his mother’s favourite spots, the following morning to meet the Bowland Mountain Rescue team before heading for the resort.
In Blackpool the Earl will visit the newly restored areas of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, including the Big Pizza Kitchen, Nickelodeon Land, before going by tram as the first VIP, to travel by Blackpool’s new Bombardier to Festival House.
He will then visit the University Centre at Blackpool and the Fylde College, Bennett Avenue, to meet students and staff at what’s effectively the hub of creative arts.
David adds: “It is so gratifying that HRH will be following the itinerary I designed to the letter. I’ve been working on the detail of organising a royal visit to Blackpool long before my appointment as DL was officially announced.
“I am glad it’s found royal favour. I wanted to impress upon him the way the town is reshaping itself and show the results of 10 years of really hard work by a lot of people.
“He will become the first passenger on our new trams and will coast slowly along the Promenade, so we can show off the seafront, headland, Dune Grasses, and Comedy Carpet, before officially opening and naming the Jubilee Tourist Information Centre, looking at the wedding chapel, and moving on to the University Centre, highlighting the emphasis Blackpool places on the future.”
David is also preparing for the official reception of new deputy lieutenants in March. He and fellow Lytham man, rugby legend Billy Beaumont, were among six new Lancashire DLs announced this week, assisting Lord Lieutenant Lord Shuttleworth in duties as HM’s representative in the county. There are 50 DLs in the county.
He’s yet to get to the royal tailors in London for fitting for his special dress uniform. “It will be lounge suit only next week.
“The uniform is military in styling, with a sash, and cap. You can buy a sword and spurs but they are particularly expensive.
“I have lived here from the age of nine and this is a wonderful honour and privilege.”
The lieutenancy dates back to Henry VIII, when the holder maintained order and military defences.
Lancashire is one of only two royal duchies, the other being Cornwall, held in trust for the Sovereign since the 14th century.
Deputies arrange and escort royal visits, lead magistracy, present medals and awards, take part in ceremonial duties.
They retain links with the military, including cadet forces, and have a significant role with Blackpool – affectionately regarded as the UK’s Veterans capital.