Diamond Jubilee: Queen visits County Durham and Teesside

The course in Stockton will be used to train Olympic contestants

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been in County Durham and Teesside as part of their official visit to the north-east of England.

The royal couple began their visit at Sunderland and Tyneside before visiting Durham Castle.

In Stockton, hundreds of children and the Cobweb Orchestra welcomed the couple at an event at the Tees Barrage.

They officially opened the The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee White Water Course.

The Queen and Prince Philip are visiting towns and cities all over the United Kingdom to mark the Diamond Jubilee.

At the scene

After days of rain, the sun shone as hundreds gathered in Stockton-On-Tees to welcome Her Majesty The Queen.

Union Flags fluttered in a gentle breeze as the crowds enjoyed their picnics next to the Tees Barrage.

BBC football commentator and It's A Knockout host Stuart Hall warmed the crowd up and talked them through demonstrations of rafting and speedboats.

Hundreds of school children from around Teesside enjoyed the entertainment in their last week of term.

Cooper Love, eight, from Pentland Primary School in Billingham, said: "It's been brilliant, we're very lucky to be here.

"I was most excited about seeing the Queen."

Her Majesty and Prince Philip looked on as rafters sped through the gushing torrents.

Stockton enjoyed every minute of its afternoon in the limelight.

The barrage offers white water rafting, white water kayaking and power-boating and was originally opened in 1995.

It has recently undergone a £4.6m redevelopment as well as introducing a short course and improvements to its longer course.

The royal couple were treated to a display of canoeists who travelled two of the water courses - named "diamond" and "jubilee".

Canoeists carrying flares then flashed past the stage before The Queen was presented with a painting from Teesside artist Mackenzie Thorpe. The National Anthem spontaneously broke out as Her Majesty left the stage.

Steve Chaytor, managing director of Tees Active, said: "This has been such a fantastic day.

"I got to shake the hand of The Queen and I got the impression that they really enjoyed themselves here.

"A huge amount of work went into planning the day and thankfully everything went according to plan and even the sun came out."

The Mayor of Stockton, Lynne Apedaile, said: "We were extremely honoured to welcome Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to the outstanding white water course.

"We are very proud of the world-class facility which really showcases our borough' s best natural asset - the River Tees.

The Queen with the Bishop of Durham Earlier the Queen met the Bishop of Durham at Durham Castle

"It has been an absolutely fabulous day, everyone has enjoyed themselves, the weather stayed fine and made it a great experience.

"I hope they both enjoyed themselves with all the people that have been out to see them.

"It means everything to us that the Queen has come to see us."

The leader of Stockton Council, Bob Cook, said: "It has been an historic and exciting day for Stockton.

"We are absolutely delighted to have had the pleasure of hosting Her Majesty and His Royal Highness, and to showcase this world-class facility."

The White Water course was originally opened in 1995 by the Duke of Edinburgh and has undergone a £4.6m redevelopment, transforming it into one of just a few Olympic standard courses available for competitors to use in the run-up to London 2012.

A special programme documenting the royal visit will be shown on BBC One on Sunday 22 July at 12:05 BST.

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