Thousands join in Bristol's Diamond Jubilee street parties
PRIDE, patriotism and pageantry lit up the streets of Bristol as diamond jubilee celebrations in the city got into full swing.
The city was awash with red, white and blue as, despite heavy showers, streets were packed with people partying with their neighbours to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation.
And the festivities are still going with dozens more events planned for today and tomorrow, placing Bristol at the top of the nation's street party table. Celebrations were also continuing on The Downs today with an afternoon of family activities and hot air balloon rides.
Flags, bunting, crowns and royal family masks have been bought up by people across the city ready for the bank holiday weekend as people attended large-scale organised events or hosted their own closer to home. The celebrations have united communities as pensioners reminisced about jubilees gone by, while children played and raced around their normally busy streets. In cosy neighbourhoods, many were intimate celebrations, but all the parties were united by a common celebration and devotion to Her Majesty.
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Pomp, circumstance and pride in our nation exuded from Millennium Square yesterday.
Hundreds of patriotic subjects came together to watch the Queen's diamond jubilee flotilla on a huge TV screen. Deck chairs gave the event a friendly seaside feel as fascinated families settled in as an afternoon of pageantry was beamed live from a wet and windy River Thames. Showers from time-to-time caused the hurried hoisting of umbrellas into the air, but many remained until the historic event had come to a close.
Draped in their Union flags, patriotic pair Carly Brady and Becca Sippitt watched the procession with glee. Having watched the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton last year at the same venue, they had returned to savour atmosphere.
Carly, 21, of Bedminster, said: "It's a special occasion when everyone can be proud to be British. Bristol is great for events like this. Sixty years is a very long time to be on the throne, it's a great achievement.
"This sort of thing doesn't happen very often and there is a nice community feel," added Becca, 20, a fellow University of the West of England fine art student, from Southville.
The Matthew, normally housed in Bristol's Harbourside, joined celebrations on the Thames. While a crew from St Anne's-based Bristol Empire Dragon Boat Club and the Pyronaut – one of the few surviving fire boats built here in 1934 – were among the world record-breaking flotilla of more than 670 boats. Manned by a crew of eight from Bristol, the vessel cruised along with the Queen's barge and a diverse selection of vessels.
Staff from international law firm DAC Beachcroft's Bristol office in Redcliffe were selected to be a part of history and help man the Pyronaut.
The grandfather of Judith Gordon-Nichols, their property team's senior chartered legal executive, was involved in building the boat during his life-long career working at the Albion dockyard. "I grew up enthralled by stories about my grandfather, who worked on the Pyronaut," she said. "It made me so proud that he helped build a fire boat that helped protect the people of Bristol during the Second World War."
Back in Millennium Square, there were plenty of activities for children organised by staff from At-Bristol, including boat making and races, crown making, and plasticine corgi making.
Hundreds turned out in Keynsham to celebrate Her Majesty's achievement. As the town's High Street was closed off, families were able to celebrate on the route the Queen took through the town during her Silver Jubilee in 1977.
Despite several heavy downpours, patriotism and pride brimmed throughout the afternoon.
The celebrations started with a community service at St John's Church and in the church grounds afterwards there were a host of attractions..
The Deason family from Saltford – Jason, Jodie and seven-year-old daughter Phoebe – had a great time, soaking up the atmosphere from their table on High Street.
"It's been a fantastic day," said Jodie. "It makes you very proud."
Friend Mel Williams, 44, added: "I think the Queen has been magnificent and I hope she goes on for another 20 years."
Music and singing was provided by the people of Keynsham, as they were able to take to the microphone.
Stilt walkers and entertainers wowed, while the community came together for the special event.
Ben Wilkins, 21, who lives on Lockingwell Road, said: "It's been a really good event. It makes me proud to be British."
At Crofts End Church in Whitehall they held a coronation of their own.
In a celebratory service of drama and music, the ceremony was recreated, complete with some of the religious verses read on the day itself back in 1952.
Whitehall Primary pupil Lizzie Irwin, nine, had the honour of playing the young Queen as she was crowned on the church hall stage.
Of the moment she was crowned, Lizzie said: "I was really excited about it."
Mum Nancy said of the real Queen Elizabeth's reign: "It's amazing – 60 years is quite an achievement."
Young violinist Liz Evans played Ode to Joy and the Crofts End Mission Silver Band stirred up pride with classics such as Rule Britannia, which ended with a burst of party poppers pulled by children and parents. A rendition of the national anthem was followed by a celebratory cake.
Church pastor Andrew Yelland said: "I think it's very important for the community to understand what we are celebrating and the children will remember this for years to come as a day everyone came together to celebrate."
In the afternoon, on a closed Crofts End Road, about 80 children enjoyed an It's a Knockout-style competition, plus races and an inflatable slide before the celebrations were rounded off last night with a performance from rock band Resplendence.
Crowds flocked to Portishead for a jubilee lunch organised by the town's churches. Eleven churches in the town joined together to put on the free extravaganza at Battery Point yesterday.
Members of Gordano Valley Church cooked up a staggering 4,000 cakes from flapjacks to cupcakes for visitors to tuck into.
Members of the church had also put together 500 ploughman's lunches and cooked £250 worth of party food donated by the town's Iceland store.
She said: "We have all been baking like mad. It is the first time all the churches have worked together to put on something like this and we all think it's a great idea."
Reverend Jeremy Putman entertained the children with his balloon modelling tricks while Portishead Air Cadets ran the drinks stall and Portishead teenagers Greg Park, 18, Will Stubbs, 18 and Luke Souter, nine, ran the beat the goalie game.
Reverend Tina Hodgett said she expected thousands visited the jubilee lunch during the day.
Rev Hodgett said: "It is a time when money is getting tighter and tighter and this event was something everyone could enjoy for free.
"All of the 11 churches in the town have worked together and it has been a great way of us all getting to know each other better and I hope we can now work together on other projects for the benefit of the town."
In Dartmoor Street, Bedminster Jacqueline Rogers was enjoying yet another street party.
The 71-year -old has lived her whole life on the cosy road in Bedminster.
"I can remember the big street party we had for the coronation," she said. "I've got photos of it somewhere. We've got a lot of new people here now but this is a lovely street.
"I think our Queen is marvellous, she really is."
The street party was organised by Rose Hill and her husband Richard, 80-year-old mum Jayne, eight-year-old daughter Emily and step-children Maddy, nine, and six-year-old Luke, had a fantastic time.
"It's been a brilliant day," said Rose. "All of the children on the street are about the same age, so hopefully when they grow up this is something they can look back on."
It was a double celebration for neighbour Emma Peyton yesterday, as she celebrated her 43rd birthday as well as the jubilee.
"The most important thing for me about the street party is the community coming together," she said.
To find out whether your street is taking part in a street party today or tomorrow see our list of Bristol street parties.
And to see some photos from street parties across Bristol, have a look at our page of galleries.
For more photos from across the jubilee weekend, see our Jubilee photo gallery.
We want to hear from you and see any photos and videos you take at your street parties and other jubilee events - please send them to us by email. Please indicate if you're not happy for your photos to appear in The Post as well.
See This is Bristol over the jubilee weekend and bank holidays for coverage of celebration events, and pick up your souvenir edition of The Post on Wednesday, June 6.