The Queen signs her portrait. Picture: Norfolk County Council/Paul Tibbs.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were all smiles as they opened the new South Lynn Fire Station this week.

Crowds of well-wishers greeted the royal guests as they arrived at the new £2m facility in Horsley’s Fields on Monday morning.

Among those waiting patiently in the cold were firefighters’ families, flag-waving pupils from St Michael’s Primary School and youngsters from nearby Twinkle Tots nursery, who made colourful crowns for the occasion.

During the visit, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh met crew members, fire cadets and young people from the Prince’s Trust before unveiling a plaque and signing portraits of themselves already on display at the station.

King’s Lynn station manager Bob Ayers said the visit had gone without a hitch.

“It was fantastic, all our planning paid-off, and it was a real pleasure to welcome them here,” he added.

“Lots of people came out on the day and the Queen and Prince Philip seemed to really enjoy the visit – there were lots of smiles and laughter.”

Mr Ayers said the Queen was particularly interested in a life-sized model horse, nicknamed Dobyn, used to train firefighters in animal rescues.

The new station, designed with the help of firefighters themselves, is home to three fire engines and a variety of emergency vehicles.

It is manned 24-hours a day by full-time and retained firefighters, with crews and equipment split between the new station and the existing base in Kilhams Way, North Lynn.

Norfolk Fire Service hopes the new station will improve response times in the area.