THE sun came out and lit up a sparkling royal day for Burnley.
Thousands lined the town’s streets to give the Queen the best of Lancashire welcomes.
And she responded in turn by praising the people of Burnley for their ‘astounding warmth”.
As she kicked off her Diamond Jubilee tour of the north-west Her Majesty also paid special tribute to the ‘selfless volunteers’ whose ‘hard work and commitment’ had made the town’s transformation possible.
In a rare move, the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh staged a combined royal tour of the town after arriving at Manchester Road Station.
And it might not have been a royal yacht, but a canal boat barge was waiting nearby for a half-mile tour through the heart of the Weavers’ Triangle to Slaters Terrace and Victoria Mill.
Highlights of the day also included a visit to Burnley FC, for a performing arts show and lunch, and a tour around the Burnley College and UCLan campus, before she headed to Accrington for a tour of the market and reception.
The Prince remained in Burnley to chair a regeneration confer-ence at Victoria Mill.Speaking ahead of the summit, the Queen said: “I have been inter-ested to learn today about the work undertaken by The Prince’s Charities to transform lives and build sustainable communities.
“By joining forces with local groups here in Burnley they have helped to make a considerable difference to the town and its people.
“I have no doubt that much of that is due to the hard work and commitment of all those who selflessly volunteer their time and energy, some of whom are here today.
“It is a great source of pride to see your (Prince Charles’) work bearing fruit through the activities being discussed at this summit.
“The result of your determination to make changes for the better, in a wide range of areas, across the coun-try and further afield, is an ongoing legacy, which is present for all to see and understand today.”
On her arrival to Burnley, the Royals were welcomed by the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth, and a group of air cadets.
A crowd of more than 300 people, including many children waving flags, were waiting to cheer them on.
Dressed in a pale pistachio green over-coat, matching hat, white gloves and black patent heels, the Queen waved at her loyal fans who had been gathering since 8.30am.
Prince Philip wore a beige trench coat over a blue suit, while Prince Charles, the last royal member to greet the crowds, wore a grey suit and yellow striped tie.
French exchange students Stacy Barthelemy, 19, and Annabelle Boissiwot, 21, were among the visitors desperate to get a glimpse of The Queen.
The pair both work at iFlorist, in Shuttleworth Mead. Stacy said: “We have been really excited. We cannot wait to go home and tell all of our friends about this.”
Youngsters from Magical Tree Nursery, in Healey Wood Road, also made the trip to the station to see the royal party.
Nursery owner Cheryl Cusack, 35, said: “We just thought we would get our flags waving and come to say hello to the Queen. The children have all been very excited.”
Rossendale resident Susan Francis, 45, decided to dress patriotically in a Union Jack suit to welcome the Queen.
She said: “I think it’s just an incredible achievement that she is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee.”
After climbing into two vehicles the royal party were whisked to Finsley Gate Wharf, for a barge trip in the Pride of Sefton along the Liverpool Leeds canal.
A crowd of people crammed onto the towpath to see of the Royal party, who were welcomed on to the barge by members of the Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Sea Cadets.
Around 140 school children from nearby Springfield Primary School were also at the wharf.
Headteacher Sarah Nock said: "It is an honour to be involved in the celebrations and to have own viewing area.
"We are very grateful to be able to play our part and support the Royals. It will be a memorable day for all the children."
When the royal party arrived at the Weavers’ Triangle to disembark a roar of cheers and enthusiastic flag waving erupted from well wishers.
The crowds were even treated to a wave from the Queen and the Duke, before they were given a presentation on the work of Prince Charles’ charities.
Six-year-old Burnley schoolgirl Olivia Loftus, who suffers from verbal dyspraxia leaving her without any language skills, then got the chance to give the Queen a posy of flowers.
Proud mum Kelly said: “It was a lovely honour and we will always remember that. It was very, very special.”
At their next stop the Queen and Prince Philip were welcomed to the Burnley College/UCLan campus by the head girls from Burnley’s five high schools and Sir Thomas Whitham sixth form centre.
Each handed the Queen a bunch of flowers which had the accent colour from their school.
The Royals then spoke to businesses and staff involved in small business incubation spaces on the campus.
Kieran Fletcher, creative director and manager director of sport, education and creative play business Funda, said the Queen was fascinated by the firm’s work.
He said: “I explained that we try to make a difference to children every day through our business and she said it was great.”
But the Prince was corrected by one student, Shabana Aslam, who is on a policing foundation degree, when asked if she wanted to be a policeman.
She said: “The Duke asked if I wanted to be a policeman and I said a police lady. He then said they are all the same.”
The Royal couple then officially opened UCLan and Burnley College’s Junior University, which is geared towards encouraging children from a young age to consider going to university.
The next stop was Turf Moor where historic royal connections with Burnley FC were cemented.
Hundreds of people lined Harry Potts Way on the outside of the stadium as the royal party arrived for lunch in the Jimmy McIlroy Stand.
Jimmy himself was on hand to welcome the couple and revealed his pride at his beloved club welcoming the monarch.
He said: “It is a great honour for the club and its fans to host the Queen and Prince Philip. I last met her 50 years ago when the team went to Wembley.”
Other guests included the current club manager Eddie Howe.
Among those with prime views in the crowd of well wishers were pupils from Stoneyholme Primary School, who enthusiastically waved Union Flags.
Ricky Bastable, 47, from Brunshaw, held granddaughter Ellie Armstrong, five, on his shoulders.
He said: “It is special to see the Queen, especially so close to the Jubilee. It is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity for both of us.”
The visit was poignant for Barry Kilby. The popular Clarets chairman officially steps down from the role next week.
He said: “This was a wonderful way to end my time as chairman, to have the Queen visiting the club is a high honour.
“There’s a strong historic link between our club and the Royal family and that has been strengthened today.
“The Queen told me that she had found the warmth of her welcome in Burnley ‘astounding’.”
Following lunch the Queen unveiled a plaque commemorating her visit and then signed the visitors’ book beneath a framed Burnley shirt from the 1914 FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.
The shirt features the royal crest commemorating the occasion of the Queen’s grandfather King George V becoming the first monarch to present the FA Cup following the Clarets 1-0 victory.
After leaving Turf Moor, the Royal couple travelled to Accrington where thousands lined the streets to snatch a glimpse of Her Majesty.
As she stepped out of her car, the crowds erupted with applause.
Children sat on the shoulders of their fathers, pensioners grasped bunches of flowers, and many even shed a tear as the Queen visited the town for the first time in 60 years.
The Queen and Prince Phillip arrived in Accrington to a warm welcome outside the town hall where crowds had began to gather four hours earlier to get the best views of the historic occasion.
“The Queen said the visit was absolutely fantastic,” said Hyndburn MP Graham Jones.
“It was such a great success, a moment to remember. The turnout was phenomenal and the people of Accrington did the town proud”.
Her Majesty took several moments to wave at the crowds before being greeted by a welcoming party which included the current Mayor of Hyndburn, Coun Colette McCormack, Mr Jones, council leader Miles Parkinson and council chief executive David Welsby.
After visiting the market hall, the Queen and Duke appeared on the balcony at Accrington town Hall where she was serenaded with the National Anthem.
She then watched a county parade of Gurkhas, Accrington Pipe Band, military cadets, scouts and guides and the Royal British Legion among others.
The Queen was then greeted with a final cheer and happy faces as she climbed into her car.
Incoming Hyndburn Mayor, Coun John Broadley said: “The Queen’s visit has really helped to put Accrington on the map.
“I think visit like this do a lot to bring people together, not only in Hyndburn but also in Lancashire.”