Queen’s Lister visit ‘for the whole town’

The Queen’s visit to officially open the new Diamond Jubilee Maternity Ward at Lister Hospital will be open to the whole community, health chiefs said.

The royal occasion, part of her Majesty’s jubilee tour of Britain is “for Stevenage as a whole” the East and North Herts NHS Trust insists.

A trust spokesman said: “We are working very closely with the borough council team to ensure that as wide as possible a cross-section of the town’s community, including our staff, is represented in the crowds that will gather at the hospital.”

Although the full itinerary is under wraps at Buckingham Palace, the Queen is scheduled to arrive at 11.15am on Thursday June 14.

Cars will be cleared the previous day from the North Road entrance up to the new maternity unit and crowd control barriers and portable toilets installed.

“Due to the natural interest in the Queen’s visit we are working closely with the police and have identified an area for a limited number of members of the public to watch allocated on a first come, first served basis,” the trust said.

There will be an increase in security levels across the site, with staff wearing Trust ID badges on hand to direct well-wishers to appropriate areas. Herts police will manage external security, while the royal protection team will be inside the maternity ward.

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Herts Police urged guests, staff and public to bring water and sun cream or wet weather clothing as necessary and to be in place by 10am. Those arriving later may be turned away on safety or security grounds.

The Queen will visit the hospital after a walkabout in Hitchin Market Place with the Duke of Edinburgh, where she will meet traders and schoolchildren and be greeted by crowds from 10.45am.