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Freddie Mercury memorial unveiled in Feltham
Hundreds of Queen fans paid tribute to Freddie Mercury today at a ceremony to unveil a plaque in his memory.
Bandmate Brian May joined the star’s 87-year-old mother Jer Bulsara in Feltham town centre, where fans from across the world gathered this morning.
The guitarist pulled away a cover at midday to reveal the Hollywood-style star, which read: “Freddie Mercury - musician, singer and songwriter”, along with the dates he lived in Feltham, between 1964 and 1968.
Mr May, who also grew up in Feltham, told how he used to go to Freddie’s house in Gladstone Avenue where they listened to Jimi Hendrix records.
He said: “Freddie, we pursued your dream, our dream, and we love you and we always will, and we are very happy to honour you in this way.”
Mrs Bulsara told the crowds: “I’m Jer Bulsara, and Freddie was my boy. He grew up to be a man with a big appetite for life and an even bigger talent for music.
“These things were there in him even as a boy, and coming here to England in 1964 gave him the opportunity to develop his talent and ambition.
“Feltham was his first home in England after we arrived from Zanzibar and it was a place where he began to explore his musical future.
“I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to see so many of you here today, here to honour his memory.”
About 2,000 fans from as far as Japan and Australia descended on the Centre, in Feltham High Street, where Mr May signed autographs for half an hour after the ceremony.
Fiona Roberts, 53, from Brisbane, Australia, said: “I just think Freddie’s mum being here makes it very special, and for her I think she deserves to see so many people come out to honour her little boy.
“Now this is somewhere the fans can come if they want to. I think it’s going to be a huge thing, it will put Feltham on the map.”
Life-long fan Matthew Locke, 31, drove with his partner Sarah Jenkins, 28, from their home in Buckinghamshire this morning.
He said: “I’ve been a fan since I was six, I’m completely crazy about them. I think Freddie was always very flippant about things, but I think secretly he would have been very proud.”
David Taylor, 48, travelled with his wife from Manchester yesterday.
He said: “I think this will bring a lot of good tourism from around the world.
“I think he would have been chuffed, I think he would have been over the moon. All his fans and friends and family are here.
“I took the day off especially to come down and be here.”
Queen tribute band “Mercury” played live at 11am before the unveiling ceremony in the shopping centre.
The musical legend lived in Gladstone Avenue, Feltham, after arriving from Zanzibar with his family in 1964 when he was 17-years-old. He studied art at Isleworth Polytechnic, which is now West Thames College.
The granite plaque - the first in the UK to commemorate the Queen frontman - will be a permanent fixture in the shopping centre’s main piazza.
To enter a competition to win a signed Brian May guitar, in association with the Centre, Feltham, pick up a copy of the Hounslow and Brentford Times or the Richmond and Twickenham Times on Friday.