Delighted Sheila wins competition to see the Queen during her Diamond Jubilee visit to Ilford

A self-confessed royalist has won a VIP ticket to Valentines Mansion and Gardens when the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visit on Thursday.

Sheila Langford, 70, of Mortlake Road, will be in the invitation-only area of the mansion for a close-up glimpse as the Queen makes her first visit to Ilford in a decade as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK.

Mrs Langford was one of almost 200 entrants to our competition, run in conjunction with Redbridge Council, asking readers to tell us where in the borough the Queen visited in May 2002.

Each correct entry was assigned a number, and on Tuesday Redbridge Mayor Cllr Chris Cummins randomly plucked Mrs Langford’s number out of a box.

Sheila told the Recorder: “I’ve always been a bit of a royalist. Last year we went to London to watch the royal wedding procession.

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“We were about three rows back [from the gates of Buckingham Palace] near the Queen Victoria memorial.

“But when they came to the balcony everyone had digital cameras in the air so we didn’t see anything!

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“I entered the competition because I thought I’d have more of a chance of seeing the Queen in Ilford!”

Mrs Langford will also be invited to a drinks reception in the drawing room of Valentines Mansion where designer Sir Terence Conran will give a speech.

Mayor Cllr Cummins said: “It’s a great honour for both me and the mayoress to be invited to the Queen’s visit.”

A special exhibition called London Pride, showcasing art and design in London over the last 60 years, will mark the monarch’s visit.

Paintings, sculptures, and design pieces are being sourced for the four-day festival, starting on Thursday.

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