FANS of the Queen Mother were today finalising their preparations to celebrate her 100th birthday.

The Evening Press has received dozens of calls about people's plans to celebrate the big 100 with the country's favourite grandmother.

And while some will be celebrating at home, there will be a day-long programme of events starting at York Minster, including the ringing of six new bells which are the subject of an appeal by the Minster.

At 10.30am tomorrow the musicians of The King's Division Waterloo Band will strike up outside the Minster.

At 10.58am, the band will play a fanfare based on the traditional oranges and lemons tune to herald the first ringing of the new bells, which are dedicated to the Queen Mother to mark her centenary.

At 11.15am, the band will lead a civic procession to the Museum Gardens, where it will continue to play until the 21-gun royal salute at 12noon.

From 1pm to 4pm, there will be 'party in the park' entertainment.

Meanwhile, Margaret Horsley, from Newton-on-Derwent, is organising a party in the village community centre for 20 children.

"It's going to be a good party with lots of banners and Union Jacks," she said.

Lillian Wallace, warden of Honeysuckle House sheltered housing scheme in York, is holding a garden party tomorrow for 60 people.

The York Show Band will provide entertainment.

And Lesley North and her mum Pamela Byers, of Hewley Avenue, York, are preparing for a birthday party in which they will dress up in tiaras, bake cakes and celebrate the birthday with a champagne brunch, before watching the festivities on TV.

Lesley said: "I think she's an absolutely splendid woman because she's taken her role very well."

Meanwhile, in London, crowds have already started gathering in the city centre to enjoy tomorrow's festivities.

Many well-wishers spent last night sleeping near The Mall and Buckingham Palace, waiting for the great moment when the Queen Mother will take the nation's salute from the palace balcony.

The Queen Mum will also receive a very special birthday card tomorrow - her telegram from her daughter.

PICTURE: Alec Simpson, deputy superintendent of works at York Minster, with the new bells in the north west tower