Gorleston man tells of sharing the stage with the Queen during Diamond Jubilee concert

A GORLESTON man who shared the stage with the Queen during her star-studded Diamond Jubilee concert has spoken of the 'surreal' experience.

Bruno Peek stood next to the monarch on the extravagant stage outside Buckingham Palace as she placed a huge diamond-shaped crystal into a pod that ignited a huge beacon to mark her 60 years on the throne.

The lighting was the culmination of two years of work for Bruno as pageant master of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee beacons. From his home in Gorleston he coordinated the international event, which saw more than 4,000 beacons being lit across the world.

The 61-year-old was watched by a global audience last night as he handed the crystal to the Queen while surrounded by pop and rock royalty including Paul McCartney, Elton John and Kylie Minogue.

He said: 'I think the dramatic moment for me was the lighting of the beacon, yes, but actually standing next to the Queen singing the national anthem. There must have been about two to three hundred thousand people (in the audience) and I just kept pinching myself thinking am I really here?

'It's just one of those magical moments I shall remember for years to come.'

'I had a little chuckle to myself as here I was standing in the front with the Queen and all these celebrities are standing behind,' he added.

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Before Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow opened the concert Bruno enjoyed a pre-dinner drinks party inside Buckingham Palace, before heading to the royal box to watch the show, which also included performances from Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Cliff Richard and Motown legend Stevie Wonder.

Bruno said: 'When Paul McCartney came on the Queen left and I had to follow her out. We got into these cars and rushed over to the stage and then I went into this marquee where people were touching up make-up. And then I followed her out and stood on the stage.'

Throughout the day Bruno had been receiving messages from beacon organisers across the globe telling him when the latest flames had been lit.

The beacon relay, which involved a whopping 4,215 locations, began in Tonga closely followed by New Zealand and Australia and continued in the UK from 10pm finishing with the Buckingham Palace flame.

Bruno said: 'The credit for this whole project must be down to all these people who took part. All those on the ground who were lighting beacons, without them we would not have been able to do what we did.

'They all deserve so much credit because they all worked hard and it was just fantastic.'

He is now working on putting together a book recording the details of each and every beacon to later present to the Queen.

FLYING the borough flag and the Norfolk flag, Caister lifeboat proudly sailed along with nearly a thousand other boats as the flotilla cascaded down the River Thames on Saturday.

Paul Williams, Tommy Williams, Andrew Turner, Richard Miles and Paul Garrod set sail for London on Friday afternoon on the Bernard Matthews II.

They docked at West India at 7pm after a three hour trip from Caister to London.

Paul said: 'It was absolutely fantastic. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

'The crowds were 30 deep all the way along, around one million people watched. We were on the edge so we had a good view.

'We found out we had received the Queen's Jubilee award on the Saturday so we were all in very high spirits. We haven't had time to celebrate.'

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