By Nigel Slater 07/06 Updated: 09/06 10:12
AN EVESHAM couple have described the moment they passed the open Tower Bridge and waved to Her Majesty in the Diamond Jubilee Flotilla as a magical experience.
Andrew and Wendy Dyke had the pleasure of travelling on their Lord Toulouse narrow boat and following The Queen's lead on the River Thames on Sunday (June 3) during the momentous event.
The pageant, featuring 1,000 vessels, was one of the national events to celebrate The Queen's Diamond Jubilee which was watched by tens of thousands of people along the river banks and millions of television viewers.
It was labelled the biggest show on the River Thames in 350 years and saw the stunning spectacle of London's Tower Bridge's road slowly raising up to allow all the boats to pass through.
Mr Dyke said waving to The Queen was very special and will undoubtedly be a lasting memory for him and his family.
"It was a marvellous occasion and one which we will remember for the rest of our lives," he told the Observer. "We were very honoured to be asked to take part and feel very proud of ourselves.
"I have two enduring memories, the first being the volume of people who were around the Thames with all the buildings full of people cheering and bearing in mind the weather it was quite remarkable how many people were there.
"The second was going under Tower Bridge with the road open and then waving to Her Majesty and the Royal Family. It was quite a magical experience and nothing will ever compare to this. In terms of organisational control it was absolutely superb.
"The other thing which was special for us particularly was that as well as me and Wendy, our two sons, one of their girlfriends and our six-year-old granddaughter were also on board so there were three generations of our family."
The pair, who both sit on Evesham Town Council and Wychavon District Council, were representing Worcestershire on the day and had the county flag raised throughout the trip which took them from Evesham to the capital.
"We flew the county flag which was on the front of the boat and Wendy decorated it with 60 red and blue bows," Mr Dyke added: "The boat looked fantastic and we were very proud of Worcestershire and hopefully they will be proud of us as well.
"I would like to thank everyone who has supported us before, during and after the pageant, especially to the councils who have supported us, all the people who came to our send-off which was another special occasion and the people who have been following us throughout our journey."
Also representing the county at the event were the Pershore Pheonix Dragon Boat Club who were travelling close to the £1million Gloriana boat which led the procession.
Team member Sonya Wilkinson said: "This was a once in a lifetime experience and the team feels honoured and very privileged to have been part of it.
"By the end Phoenix was very close to the Gloriana, rowed by eminent sportsmen such as Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent and it was a remarkable sight."
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