CHILDREN will play a key role in this week's royal visit to Halton, it has been revealed.

Some 600 primary school children have been invited to the see the Queen and Meghan when they come to open the Mersey Gateway bridge on Thursday.

The royal visitors will arrive at Runcorn railway station on the morning of Thursday, June 14 and travel across the bridge by car to Widnes.

The opening event will be held at Catalyst Museum in West Bank, where the royal party could get a bird's eye of the new crossing from the glass top observation gallery.

Guests will include many of those who have helped to make the bridge a reality including councillors, MPs, partners from across the region, community volunteers, staff from the construction consortium and operating teams.

Excited youngsters selected to share the day have been sharing their thoughts.

Maya Neal, nine, from Victoria Road Primary School, Runcorn said: “I am so excited to be able to see the Queen and the Duchess because it is a once in a life time opportunity. I feel very lucky that our school was chosen to take part.”

Karl Landrum, head teacher at St Gerard's Catholic Primary and Nursery School, said: "It is a honour for our children to be able to witness the official opening of the bridge which is only a few minutes away from our school and therefore part of our school community.

"I wish all of the organisers lots of luck with such an exciting event for Halton."

Pupil Savannah Cafferty, whose birthday falls on the the day the Mersey Gateway opened to traffic - will have an extra special role on the day, presenting a posy to one of the royal party.

She said: “When I found out I was going to have a special job on the day I asked ‘Why me?’ I am really happy and excited as the Queen is like a mother to Britain and she has helped us through trouble. My nan was at the opening of the Silver Jubilee Bridge.”

Savannah’s proud head teacher at Farnworth CE Primary School Jackie Stillings said: “The opening of the Mersey Gateway bridge is a special moment in Halton’s history and I am thrilled that children from my school will be part of this historic event.

"The bridge has made travelling from Widnes to Runcorn and beyond so much easier and it is a spectacular sight in itself.

"It makes me proud to be a Halton resident knowing that the Queen and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are marking the opening of this bridge.”

A group of Halton schoolchildren will perform a specially commissioned performance of dance and movement, directed by Andrew Curphey Theatre Company.

Drama teacher Andrew, from Widnes, will present Bringing Communities together: Bridges of Halton. The moving piece features 80 children and young people from schools across the borough and tells the story of the many crossings that have existed over the Mersey connecting Widnes and Runcorn through the ages.

On Thursday, access around Runcorn Station and at the Catalyst Science and Discovery Museum will be restricted.

However, members of the public who want to see the Royal party, are advised to go as close as is safely possible to Runcorn Station and Catalyst Science and Discovery Centre.

Stewards and the police will be in both areas for crowd management.

The public is reminded that cyclists and pedestrians are prohibited from the Mersey Gateway bridge.