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Comment 03 JUNE 2012

Long may she rain: Inclement weather doesn't stop Britain celebrating

03 JUNE 2012

The rain didn't dampen spirits one bit.

Up and down the country umbrellas were opened and thousands of Union Flags were waved in unison over rounds of sandwiches as friends and neighbours came together to celebrate the Queen's 60 years of reign.

Britons were encouraged to mark the Jubilee during the Big Lunch, by organising a street party in their community.




And they responded in droves. An estimated 10,000 street parties were held, double the number that celebrated the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's nuptials.

More than 9,500 roads were closed, and thousands more church halls, parks and gardens were filled with revellers.

Many themed their events around the Fifties, when the coronation took place.

In Richmond Park in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, organisers went one step further - offering food at 1950s prices, including hot dogs for 7p, bacon sandwiches for 9p and a cup of tea for just 2p.

More than 100 people attended a street party in Flambard Avenue in Christchurch, Dorset. Organiser Nicky Prior said: "It's been great fun.

"We have a social club in the street which is more than 35 years old so holding gatherings like this is second nature to us. We are determined to party on all day."

Visitors came from far and wide to celebrate. Sixty-three-year-old Bennie Banares brought a group of 43 people from Canada.




She wrote to the monarch in January asking about the Jubilee, and was thrilled to get a reply:

"Just to receive the royal mail in my mailbox would be a privilege, but I had got a reply from the Queen's secretary and she gave me all the websites I needed for tickets. I knew everything before the tour opearators."

In the Welsh village of of Rhosneigr in Anglesey - near where Prince William is based as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, locals are staging a four-day event like the one held there in 1953 to mark the coronation. 

In total, 300 applications were made for street closures across Wales, 100 more than were filed for last year's royal wedding.

One of the UK's longest street parties took place in the villages of Goring and Streatley.

While usually separated by the Thames - and in two different counties, Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire - they became one by lining up 465 trestle tables crossing the high streets and the river bridge.

The party went on for a whole kilometre in length.


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