Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Queen honours her Jubilee stars

Gary Barlow, Heston Blumenthal and Bruno Peek attend as the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh host a reception

Singer Gary Barlow, celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal and hundreds of others who helped make the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year a success have been honoured by the monarch.

A glittering Buckingham Palace reception was hosted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh for those who made the regional, national and international celebrations events to remember.

Barlow masterminded the triumphant Diamond Jubilee concert - staged during a special bank holiday weekend in June - that featured a host of stars including Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney who played to a televised audience of millions.

The X Factory judge's anthem Sing, co-written with Andrew Lloyd Webber, topped the singles charts during the summer and a few days after the musical extravaganza Barlow was awarded an OBE for services to the entertainment industry and to charity.

Before the show began, 12,000 ticket holders picnicked in the grounds of the Palace eating delicacies from a hamper created by Blumenthal and the Queen's royal chef, Mark Flanagan.

Blumenthal described the experience as "amazing" and went on to give his recollections of the event: "On the day I was driving around the outside of the palace and we could see thousands of people queuing, they were queuing and lapping themselves and (all I could see was) picnic hampers."

He added: "I'm never happy with what I've done, I always think I could do better, I'm getting a bit better at taking compliments but the reaction was fantastic."

The chef added, joking: "I was very lucky, the food didn't quite hit the top but they got a free hamper, and it was a really nice hamper, to take home with them."

Blumenthal went on to say: "I was really pleased with it, it was the challenge of taking something that had an historical framework and showcasing British produce."

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