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Ecstatic welcome as Obama flies in; Crowds cheer 'relaxed' President.


UNITED States president Barack Obama looked "relaxed and at home" last night as he arrived in the UK to attend the G20 Summit, for his first visit since being elected.

Air Force One touched down at Stansted Airport, Essex, at 7.50pm.

Mr Obama and first lady Michelle emerged from the Boeing 747, waving before walking down the steps to be greeted by Chancellor Alistair Darling.

The president then walked to his helicopter - Marine One - a Black Hawk flown in from America, to be taken to London.

At Regent's Park, an excited crowd of about 100 people waited outside for his arrival at Winfield House, the US ambassador's r esidence.

Police in high-visibility jackets manned a security perimeter, stationed every 50yards, with some unsuspecting joggers interrupted in their exercise to be stopped and searched.

Marine One arrived in central London within half an hour, the sound of helicopter rotor blades greeted by excited murmurings from the crowd as they scrambled for cameras and video phones.

One onlooker said: "I see it, it's a bright light, there it is." Another added: "This is cool, this is awesome."

Jenna Jabinsky, 20, a student from Long Island, New York, studying communications and business in the capital, said: "We took a lot of blurry pictures but at least we can tell our friends and family we got to see the helicopters first hand, they landed right there." Fellow student Darren Goldberg, 21, from New Jersey, said: "We learn all the time about the close relationship between the UK and the US, so this is a symbolic and important visit." Mr Obama was soon on the move again, switching to the "Obamamobile", an armoured limousine, for the short drive up the road to The American School in London, in St John's Wood where a crowd of about 150 people lining the street gave an excited cheer.

Inside the school grounds, Mr Obama greeted American embassy employees as well as school parents and students.

Obama fan Su Mumba, 23, a sales assistant from Greenwich, got a ticket through her aunt, who works for the US Embassy.

Beaming excitedly, she showed off her mobile phone footage of the President and his wife as they shook a sea of hands. She said: "I'm going to show it to everyone, I'm well over the moon. I had to queue up from 5pm, but it was worth it completely." She said Mrs Obama spent much time with a small child in her arms after the youngster took a shine to her.

Mr Obama made a short speech in which he talked about the close relationship between America and the UK and the importance of children as the future.

Ms Mumba said: "I wouldn't say his speech was great, I've heard his speeches before and read his books, but this time he was umming and err-ing ... but it was gr eat." Dee Oshile, who lives in Westminster and works in diplomatic security, also shook the President's hand.

He said: "He's a lovely man, he makes you feel at home, as does his wife." BILL GLEESON - LDP BUSINESS: PAGE 8


President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk out together from Air Force One, at Stansted Airport last night Air Force One arrives at Stansted Airport
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 1, 2009
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