Grey skies and rain overshadowing a new youth hostel were soon forgotten after a visit from the Queen yesterday (Thursday October 31).
Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty visited the YHA South Downs hostel in Southease near Newhaven, to officially open the new £5 million centre.
Scores of well-wishers waving banners and sporting Union Jack attire lined the soaking streets outside the hostel.
Some spectators, who had been waiting for hours, were duly rewarded for their patience when the royal couple arrived by car just after 11am.
Caroline White, chief executive of the YHA, welcomed the special guests to the centre before leading a guided tour of its facilities.
First port of call for Her Majesty and Prince Philip was an introduction to the hostel’s ‘glamping pods’ – small shed-like accommodation for youngsters to camp in.
The Queen later unveiled a plaque to commemorate the centre’s official opening before accepting flowers from four-year-olds Tom Chapman, brother Ben Chapman and fellow four-year-old Abigail Venter.
Abigail described her big moment.
The youngster, from Angmering, said: “I gave her some flowers.
“I said these are for you your majesty and did a curtsy as well, which I had been practicing. She then said thank you. She liked them.”
Lisa Venter, Abigal’s mum and operations manager at YHA, said: “What an amazing experience.
“It’s something she can cherish when she’s older, and something she can show her children and grandchildren.
“When I originally told her about it she was a bit worried because the queens she had seen were from Disney movies and they were a bit nasty. “But she was lovely and Abi had a great time.”
YHA chief executive Caroline added: “It was absolutely brilliant.
“The Queen and The Duke loved it and couldn’t believe what an amazing hostel we have here.
“They were impressed with the rooms and the beds and were surprised with the level of comfort we offer young people.”