||Last Updated: Nov 25th, 2009 - 17:04:36
I was honoured to be present yesterday in Feltham to watch the unveiling of a Star for Freddie.
The London Borough of Hounslow finally decied it was time there was a permanent memorial to Freddie right here in the UK - and it was placed in Feltham, a town where Freddie spent his teenage years, after he and his family moved here from Zanzibar in 1964.
The day began at 11am with tribute band Mercury performing a great set of Queen classics to an enthusiastic crowd, and although it was windy, the rain held off!
At Midday the crowds moved from the carpark (where the gig was) to the Shopping mall, where a large white marquee covered the area of the Star. The VIP's began to gather underneath the canopy - including the local Mayor and a few Council dignitaries. We were waiting for the special guests, and a huge roar from the crowd heralded the arrival of Mrs Jer Bulsara, Freddie's Mum, his sister Kash and her husband Roger. Then the crowd yelled again as the familiar curly hair of Brian came into view!
The Mayor made a speech, as did some well to do chap who said he represented the Queen a lot and owned the Cobra Beer factory! (my ears pricked up at this point...!), but sadly did not catch is name. Councillor Paul Jabbal also spoke about the reasons they were so pleased to have the memorial in Feltham.
Mrs Bulsara was then lead to the mic - she is a tiny, frail figure, but she spoke with such a strength of love and pride in her voice, of "Her Boy" Freddie and his time in Feltham, not a dry eye in the place!
Brian then made a lovely speech - he mentioned that he too, was from Feltham, and had lives within yards of Freddie for ages but never met him! He recalled a story of sitting around the Dansette record player listening to Jimi Hendrix, in Freddie's family home in Gladstone Road.
Speeches over, Mrs Bulsara was asked to pull the velvet cover off of the Memorial Star.... and the applause and whistles were deafening as the Star was revealed. It's stunning!
It's much larger than we all thought, and a fitting memorial to a great man! He would have loved it, but, as his sister Kash observed to me later - he would have said "it's lovely dear, but why all the fuss..."!!
After all that, many of us all retired to the Red Lion pub for beer and food - many thanks to them for their hospitality and letting us take over the sound system with Queen and Freddie songs!
It was a lovely day, and very moving - and good to spend it in the company of fellow fans and Freddie's family and friends. Many thanks to everyone for your company, and thanks to Paul Jabbal and the council of Feltham for finally letting us have somewhere to remember Freddie.
Now we know where we will all be on November 24th in years to come... all meeting up in Feltham!!
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