The Queen has given the royal seal of approval to a new housing project caring for former members of the armed forces in the Capital.
The Scottish Veterans’ Garden City Association’s (SVGCA) Salvesen Gardens development in Muirhouse will see five more terraced and semi-detached homes built by the end of the year to provide injured heroes with high-quality housing.
I won’t be able to sleep for a week. She was just so beautiful and graciousJAN BREMNER
Arriving in a dark blue Range Rover, Her Majesty toured the site – which already houses a number of veterans – and spoke to the soldiers and their families as part of her week of engagements in Scotland.
During her 45-minute stay she planted a tree and unveiled a commemorative stone – as well as signing the visitor’s book on the same table once used by her mother in the 1940s.
On her arrival the Queen was presented with a bouquet of flowers from six-year-old Mya Bamford – with the youngster admitting afterwards she found the ordeal “a bit scary”.
Mum Tracey Bamford, 26, who lives in veterans’ housing in Penicuik with her husband Simon and their two children, said: “She was very excited. She had a couple of trial runs this morning and we’ve been going over it with her.”
William Sutherland, a veteran of the Falklands War who served in the Royal Navy for 21 years, said it was an “honour and a privilege” to receive a visit from the Queen.
The 57-year-old suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after his ship, HMS Plymouth, was hit by bombs in June 1982, and now devotes much of his time to working with veterans.
He said he spoke to the Queen about his time in the Falklands – where Prince Andrew also served.
“All these matters are of interest to her because her family also serve and she’s still a family person herself,” he said. “All these houses here will be for families.
“Her visit means a lot to the Garden City Association, to the residents and to all the supporters who raise funds to keep these things going.”
Jan Bremner, 75, and her husband Charles, 79, arrived at Salvesen Gardens 40 minutes before the Queen and managed to scoop seats at the front of the public area.
Mrs Bremner said she “overwhelmed” by the experience. She said: “I won’t be able to sleep for a week. She was just so beautiful and gracious.”
Peter Minshall, SVGCA chief executive, said: “It’s one of the most important things probably in anyone’s life to meet the Queen, but bear in mind the veterans are people who have signed up to serve the Queen in a special way – and in this particular case have then been disabled. So for them to meet the Queen is doubly meaningful.”