Reigate welcomed the Duchess of Gloucester recently to put the royal seal of approval on the town's celebrations of the 150th anniversary of it and Redhill being granted municipal borough status.

The Duchess and the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey Dame Sarah Goad were greeted by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council officers and members of Reigate and Redhill 150 Group, and met local children.

They visited the Triumphal Arch in Tunnel Road which has been re-created specially to mark the anniversary.

It was a very fitting royal visit as it recalled the time when a young Queen Victoria passed through the town in 1837.

That occasion saw the original Triumphal Arch put up in Bell Street.

Queen Victoria passed through Reigate, changing horses at The White Hart Hotel, on her way to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. She went on to sign the Royal Charter of Incorporation on September 11, 1863 – the move which led to the introduction of democratically elected and accountable local government for the two towns and the districts of Meadvale, Earlswood, Woodhatch, Tollgate and South Park. The re-creation of the Triumphal Arch was a key feature of the 150 celebrations, which are being led by the Reigate and Redhill 150 Group.

It will stand until the middle of next month.

Activities and events marking the anniversary have so far included Reigate Community Festival, the Heritage Open Days and guided history walks.

Redhill Sinfonia will perform the Charter Anniversary Concert on Saturday, November 23. For full details visit the Reigate and Redhill 150 Group website at: