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Town’s thanks from Queen

ROYAL thanks have been given to Bognor Regis residents.


The Queen has issued a regal message for the bumper book of greetings its residents compiled for her 90th birthday earlier this year.


The Friends of Bognor Regis Pier put together the unique celebration for the monarch’s latest personal milestone in commemoration of her links to the town in her childhood.


They gathered an outstanding 4,110 best wishes in a giant album.


Christopher Sandamas, the chief clerk to the Queen, told the Friends that Her Majesty regarded the gesture as a ‘splendid album’.


“The Queen was delighted to see the thousands of thoughtful messages sent by members of the local community and further afield in honour of her birthday,” he wrote to the Friends’ chairman, Jan Malpas.


“Her Majesty was greatly touched by the kind sentiments expressed in the album and, in return, the Queen has asked me to send her very best wishes to you and all concerned with the project.”


As reported, the Friends began working on the project last February. They gathered the best wishes – some illustrated – with a variety of signing sessions, visits to schools and social media posts.


Among those who contributed were the pupils of Bishop Tufnell infant and junior schools, Felpham Community College, Hollymead House care home in Felpham and South Bersted Air Cubs.


As well as the Bognor Regis area and UK, the greetings to the Queen came from around the world. Sweden, New Zealand, Thailand, South Africa, Canada and the USA were among the countries represented.


They were combined into the album which measures 24ins high, 4.5ins deep and 18ins wide. It was taken to Buckingham Palace in late October by the five-strong combined communications group of the Friends.


They returned to the palace recently to collect the album after they had received the letter from Mr Sandamas to the delight of the group of supporters of the pier.


Mrs Malpas said: “It’s a fantastic letter after all the work that went into the album.


“To receive something like this, and to know Her Majesty has actually touched the album, is absolutely brilliant. We are so thrilled with the response.


“It means something and shows the album is a historic document for Bognor Regis.”


The Friends were planning to let as many people as possible to see the album, especially those who had contributed to it, she said.


A total of 30 schools had made submissions. “We are going to go round with the album to each of the schools to show them what we have done,” said Mrs Malpas.


It was also intended to stage several open days in different locations where members of the public would be able to see the album and meet the Friends to ask them about the project.


“We will be speaking to the museum to see if the album can be put on public view there after it has done its rounds.


“If people want to see the album, hopefully, it will create a good feeling in the town.”


The album’s delivery to Buckingham Palace was followed by the bombshell news pier owner John Ayers had decided against continuing his company’s support for a £5m lottery bid by the Bognor Pier Trust to restore the pier.


Mrs Malpas said: “We are gutted by what has happened. We have worked very hard to try to move the project forward.


“But there is nothing we can do about it. We just have to look at how we can make progress in a different way.”


The Friends will be meeting soon to decide on their next course of action in the coming year.

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