Students and staff from Brooke Weston took part in the celebrations welcoming the Queen to Corby on her Diamond Jubilee visit. Her Majesty was cheered by thousands of well-wishers as she toured Corby Pool and Corby Cube.
Alice Beattie, Charlee Broad and Ashleigh Britten from Year 7, along with Year 8 students Lauren Carter and Megan Sawyer all performed for the Queen as part of the Shape dancers as she toured the swimming pool. Charlee said: ‘I liked it when the Queen came into the building, we were all waving our pom-poms, it was an amazing atmosphere.’
Lauren added: ‘The last time the Queen came to Corby was in 1961 so to be given the chance to perform in front of her was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is not like the Queen comes to Corby every day!’
Emily O’Brien and Daniel Manning, both from Year 8, were part of the team that put on a diving display. Emily has been diving for around two years and rehearsing for the royal visit for the past month. She said: ‘It was really fun, I will always remember seeing the Queen because not many people get that opportunity!’
Year 7 student Julienne Padayachy donned a face mask and flippers to swim across the pool with other lifeguards. She said: ‘We just learned to snorkel last week and have been practising.’
Kelan Atkinson from 8N was part of the Grampian Pipe Band that played classics including as Scotland the Brave. He said: ‘We stood to attention as the Queen came out of the pool and I was metres away from her. I really enjoyed being so close and she made eye contact with me! Afterwards we were told that she had really enjoyed the bagpipes.’
Year 8 students Tiana Haughton and Emma-Jade Beadsworth also played their parts with Tiana performing Irish dancing with the Carey Academy while Emma-Jade was part of the Air Cadet Squadron guard of honour.
Sixth Former Joshua Loy, who is a Flight Sergeant in the Corby air cadets held the door open for the Queen as she went into the Cube. He said: ‘She asked how I was. I was saluting and it was definitely surreal! The best memory of the day was just speaking to her.’
Blane Chalmers from Year 12 performed with the orchestra in the Cube, playing to accompany the choir, theatre and dance performance: ‘I was metres away from the Queen as she was directly in front of me as I was playing but, luckily, that didn’t put me off!’
Sixth Former Paige Broughton and dance teacher Miss Duguid were selected from 60 auditionees to be part of the 10-strong dance company. Paige said: ‘We sang the National Anthem as a choir, then performed our piece, which was a combination of break-dancing and contemporary. We were all really excited and had the live feed of the Queen walking into the Cube so that completely hyped us up! The local MP congratulated us and said that the Queen looked really transfixed!’
Miss Duguid added: ‘It was a great experience. When the Queen walked in I was quite star-struck and her smile felt genuine. It felt like she genuinely enjoyed what was going on. It was a fabulous day.’
Toni Mullen also from Year 12, worked at front of house at the Cube, ushering in 350 guests and handing out water and union flags. She said: ‘I didn’t see the Queen until she came out of the Cube to do the presentation and she was about a foot away. It was quite a shock really!’
Year 9 student Hannah Loy actually spoke to the Queen as she was stationed near the commemorative plaque. She said: ‘I was told I had to stand next to the plaque, I had one of the luckiest places to be because not many people got as close to her as I did. She said hello to me and I said “Hello, Your Majesty.” I was shaking and really happy. It was shown on the big screens around the town and afterwards everyone came up to me and said they had seen me. I also got to see the Lord Lieutenant, spoke to the local MP, Louise Mensch, and shook the Mayor’s hand.’
Mrs Hilling and Mr Barrett were both invited to the Queen’s preceding engagement, the Jubilee Picnic at Burghley House, Stamford as representatives from the county branch of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. Year 9 students Tyler Yeoman and Alistair Auld were also at Burghley House with the Kettering sea cadets.
Mr Barrett said: ‘It was a fantastic and special day, there were choirs and dancers performing from Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. It was a beautiful setting and the atmosphere was brilliant.’
Brooke Weston Principal, Trish Stringer said: ‘It was a memorable day supported by thousands of local people and it was wonderful that many of our students and some of our staff were able to take part in such a variety of ways. It was an opportunity that, no doubt, they will remember for a lifetime.’