IT'S not everyday you get to hear your voice echoing over Tower Bridge before it opens.

That's what happened to little Lauren Ward from Moredon when she got to make the announcement over the loudspeakers when the centre of the bridge lifted up on Sunday to let a sailing barge cruise along the River Thames.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arose after her uncle James Inglis bagged them VIP access to a special exhibition at the iconic London landmark.

The eight-year-old's mother Helen Inglis loved their memorable trip to the capital.

Helen said: "Lauren did really well, it was amazing how loud it sounded,

"James helped with part of the exhibition so they invited him to visit as a VIP as a thank-you.

"He brought me, Lauren, and her stepdad Tom Wilson along as guests.

"James felt a bit nervous about making the announcement so he asked Lauren if she wanted to do it and she said yes, she's quite a confident young girl.

"He asked the technical officer if that was alright, he was really nice to her and let her do it.

"Lauren was really chuffed, she's been telling all her friends at Moredon Primary School about it and some of them don't believe her!"

The family also got to explore the bascule chambers, which are the counterweights that enable the famous bridge to open up, and step into the control room to see how the bridge is operated.

The technical officer told Lauren what to say to warn pedestrians and motorists about the bridge's imminent opening and instructed James on how to close the gates on the road and lift the bridge up.

After the barge had safely sailed through, the officer told Lauren how to lower the bridge back down and secure it in place.

James got involved in the Tower Bridge exhibition while he was studying for a Master's degree in London.

His lecturer asked his class if anyone wanted to contribute to the exhibition and James volunteered.

The 23-year-old interviewed several people who used to work on Tower Bridge.

Some of the quotes from those interviews were then used in part of the exhibit at one of London's most popular tourist attractions.

Helen added: "We felt quite special, we got escorted around the exhibit and didn't have to pay.

"Seeing my brother's work on display made me feel really proud of him."