Town Unites for Royal Celebration
Some 700 people celebrated the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at Midhurst Town Council's street party
This historic event brought the whole community together in a rare display of patriotism; from tiny babies to those well into their nineties.
The heart of the old town was closed to traffic from early morning so that bunting could be hung and more than 100 tables set up. It was 'all hands on deck' as councillors and volunteers were joined by residents to prepare for this unique event.
By midday most seats were filled. Tables were laid with lavish picnics and groups enjoyed iconic dishes such as coronation chicken and strawberries and cream. At 1pm a town crier called for everyone's attention and proposed a loyal toast; just as the rain began to fall. John Etherington, chairman of Midhurst Town Council then said a few words and the church bells pealed.
Undeterred by the rain, the Featherstone Flyers jazz band roused the crowd with numbers such as Singing in the Rain, whilst determined revelers danced under their umbrellas. Midhurst Players performed some much-loved show tunes and Paula Groves provided live music throughout the rest of the event. Children were amused by a street entertainer on a unicycle and those aged under 13 years were able to collect a free commemorative mug.
As the rain continued to fall in torrents the crowds dispersed and the clean-up operation began. Reflecting on the day, John Etherington said, "The event was a resounding success, in spite of the weather, and we have had some lovely comments, letters and emails from people who came along and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, which we really appreciate."
Mr Etherington thanked everyone involved in the organisation of the street party. He also thanked all those people who braved the weather to support the event and the residents of Church Hill for putting up with the disruption.