An iconic new bridge hailed as a "modern marvel" was built by a Carlisle engineer.

Michael Martin, who grew up in Denton Holme, met the Queen today as she officially opened the new Queensferry Crossing, across the Firth of Forth in Scotland.

He came out of retirement to head the build, which was described as an "extraordinary achievement" by the monarch.

Mr Martin, who went to Robert Ferguson School, has been involved in a number of key bridges during his career.

But he said he was "incredibly proud" to have led the Queensferry Crossing construction, which had 1,500 people working on it at any one time and 15,000 people overall.

"It's the biggest infrastructure project for a generation in Scotland, and one of the biggest bridges in the world," he said.

"I'm very proud to have headed up such a prestigious and important project for Scotland."

The £1.35 billion structure - the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world - took six years to build.

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the "breathtaking" new bridge yesterday.

During the ceremony she met Mr Martin, who introduced her to some of those who had been involved in the project.

"It was fantastic. My granddaughter, Elizabeth Rose Martin, was able to act as flower girl, presenting flowers to the Queen," he said.

"I have met the Queen once before, almost 30 years ago at the opening of the Kylesku bridge. She was very good."

He also met Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who he said spent a long time talking to members of his workforce.

Mr Martin is the son of the late Julie Martin, who was a well known lecturer at Carlisle Technical College.

His sister Judith Clarke, former curator at Penrith museum, and husband David, still live just outside Carlisle.

Speaking about his involvement in the Queensway Crossing project, Mr Martin said his former employer, Morrison Construction, initially asked him to sit on the supervisory board.

The 65-year-old was then persuaded to come on board as project director.

Asked how he felt now it was complete, he said: "There is certainly an enormous sense of relief. It's quite a burden to bear, being responsibly for a project this big when you have 1,500 people working on the bridge at any one time, and 15,000 during the course of the construction.

"It's also taken place in the full glare of politics and the press, and we've had some very difficult weather conditions.

"Now it's finished I'm very proud of my workforce. There is no doubt that this is one of the world's great bridges. It's quite unique."

The Queen returned to the Firth of Forth to formally open the structure 53 years after opening the neighbouring Forth Road Bridge.

Hundreds of spectators watched as she cut a ribbon on the south side, before being driven to the north side, where she made a short speech and unveiled a plaque.

As well as being a "breathtaking sight", she said the new bridge would be an "important link" between the Lothians and Fife, in addition to the Forth road and rail bridges.

She said: "The three magnificent structures we see here span three centuries, are all feats of modern engineering and a tribute to the vision and remarkable skill of those who designed and built them."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the monarch: "On the day that your great-grandfather opened the original Forth Bridge in 1890, he declared it as a 'wonder of the age'.

"When you opened the Forth Road Bridge in 1964, you said that it showed Scotland's determination to 'remain among the leaders in all branches of technology'.

"Today, this magnificent Queensferry Crossing takes its own place as a modern marvel."

Addressing those involved in the project, Mrs Sturgeon added: "The nation's heart is bursting with pride at what you have achieved."

The Red Arrows marked the occasion with a flypast while a flotilla of boats travelled under the bridge.