Gorleston pageantmaster’s palace date with X Factor’s Gary Barlow

Pageantmaster Bruno Peek mingled with celebrity friends declaring them members of an exclusive 'Jubilee Boys' club at a glittering Buckingham Palace reception last night.

The event was hosted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh for those who made the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year such a success.

Mr Peek, from Gorleston, masterminded a 4200-strong chain of beacons which lit up the world from Tonga to Great Yarmouth on June 4 in honour of the Queen's 60 year reign, bringing together people from all walks of life and raising huge sums for dozens of charities.

Last night he was surprised and delighted to find himself singled out among a small party including singer and X Factor judge Gary Barlow and chef Heston Blumenthal.

The trio and around half a dozen others were formally presented to the Queen in the white drawing room before the main reception which saw around 400 people rubbing shoulders and chinking glasses.


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He said that as well as being a great honour it was a chance to meet other people, crucial to the success of the event with whom he had only communicated by phone or email.

Many of the main players had only ever met briefly in the flesh, if at all, to share their experiences and reflect on being part of the global celebrations, so meeting up with people like Gary Barlow and Heston Blumental was a real treat.

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'It was really nice,' he said. 'When I arrived at the palace I was taken to the white drawing room and there was just Gary and Heston and half a dozen others and we were all presented to the Queen before the start of the reception.

'That was a complete surprise. The presentation was still very formal but we did have a laugh. I told Gary and Heston that they now belonged to an exclusive club called The Jubilee Boys, we had a really good time. It was nice to see them because at the time we did not really have a chance to talk to each other, and also nice to see the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh looking so well.

'The reception afterwards was amazing. I met a lot of people who were involved in what we did but had not met face to face.

'I was asked by lots of people what my special memory was and, of course, it was handing the Jubilee Diamond to the Queen to light the Jubilee Beacon. Standing next to her and singing the two verses of the National Anthem and looking down The Mall was a very moving moment.'

On the night 120 beacons were lit in Norfolk alone with the one on Great Yarmouth's seafront attracting a crowd of thousands. Organisers quickly doubled their original target of 2012 beacons, eclipsing previous totals of 1800 for the Golden Jubilee, and 1200 for the Trafalgar event in 2005.

Barlow was behind the triumphant Diamond Jubilee concert - staged during a special bank holiday weekend in June and played to a televised audience of millions, after which he was awarded an OBE for services to the entertainment industry and to charity.

Blumenthal and the Queen's royal chef, Mark Flanagan, created a special hamper for picnickers ahead of the concert.

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