As the nation mourns the death of Queen Elizabeth II, we look back at her visit to Highbridge on December 5th, 1958.
After several weeks of anticipation, The Queen arrived by train at Highbridge Railway Station, pictured, and then travelled by car along crowd-lined roads to the town’s radio signal station.
Pat Pusill, whose mother was Chairman of Highbridge Burnham Urban District Council at the time, had the important job of greeting Her Majesty on her arrival in the town.
“There was weeks of preparation for a visit that lasted just an hour. We arrived at the station early to see The Queen arrive and large crowds were there to see her,” Pat told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
“I had a great view of The Queen near the front because my mother welcomed the Queen when she got off the train. A young girl presented the Queen with a bouquet of flowers as she got into her official car.”
The VIP visitor was given a tour of the facilities, met several staff and heard how messages were received and transmitted to shipping in all parts of the world.
“The Queen’s arrival went very smoothly, except for when the Lord Lieutenant nearly fell out of his car after his ceremonial sword got stuck in the door!” recalls Pat.
“The Royal car travelled through Highbridge and along Burnham Road to Worston Road, past Holts Brewery, on its way to the radio station.”
“I can clearly remember the large crowds of residents waving flags all along the route with bunting lining the roads.”
The Queen then travelled by car – waved by watching crowds – to Highbridge Railway Station for her journey to Bristol.
Pat, who was 18 at the time, added: “It was a great day for Burnham and Highbridge – a really memorable occasion.”
Among the other residents who remember the visit is Sue Stevens. She told us: “My friend and I ran across the school fields to see The Queen go by and we sat on a gate to watch her car go by.”
“I remember that she looked over at us and gave her special wave – it was a great moment. Afterwards, my friend Ray, who would later become my husband, invited me out to the pictures.”