Wokingham Diamond Jubilee day set to dazzleBy Laura Herbert
May 31, 2012
Hundreds of people will be taking to the streets in Wokingham this weekend for one of the biggest parties the town has ever seen.
Laura Herbert found out more
The bunting is ready to be hung, the trestle tables are waiting to be laid out, and the food is ready to be served as Wokingham gets ready to unite over the Bank Holiday weekend to mark the Queen’s 60th year on the throne.
Wokingham Town Council has planned a giant street party to take place in the centre of the town to bring people and businesses together in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee. Hundreds of trestle tables will line the streets for the Big Lunch on Sunday, before crowds enjoy a special gig in Elms Field.
“It is going really well,” says Jan Nowecki, Wokingham Town Council clerk. “We are thrilled with the weather at the moment but we just hope it hasn’t peaked too soon.”
Festivities kick off on Saturday with a Coronation Prom-in-the-Park – possibly the largest concert ever staged in Wokingham – with performances from the 250-strong Wokingham Jubilee Chorus and Docklands Sinfonia.
The main event gets under way on Sunday, starting with a REME parade to celebrate the corps’ freedom of the town at 9am, followed by a civic march to All Saints Church where a jubilee service will take place.
It has now been confirmed that the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire Mary Bayliss will attend celebrations in Wokingham. The Big Jubilee Lunch gets underway from 12.30pm and is expected to attract thousands as pubs, bars and restaurants in the town centre offer special £5 menus for the day.
“I think the fact they have decided to do something they have never done before in terms of coming together and offering this £5 menu is great,” says Jan. “We hope people will taste food from somewhere they haven’t been to before and will return in the long term. We want longevity from this.”
To keep the little ones entertained, special ‘make and take’ boxes and colouring activities have been prepared and these will be available from stalls in Peach Street, Denmark Street and Market Place.
For those who want to enjoy the fun in the town centre but also want to catch a glimpse of the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant, The Bradbury Centre in Wokingham Methodist Church will be screening the event on TV from 3pm.
“I think people welcome the fact the town council has taken a lead on this and has been the catalyst,” says Jan. “Going out around town you meet people who recognise that it’s important and it’s something they want to join in and support.”
Ahead of the Big Jubilee Gig, which takes place at Elms Field from 4.30pm, families can take a look at an array of classic cars from Barkham and District Classic Car Club or take in the entertainment in the town centre including stilt walkers, jugglers and magicians.
Councillor Gwyneth Hewetson, a member of Wokingham Town Council’s art and culture committee, says: “We hope this is a long legacy that shows Wokingham is not only the best place to live economically but is also a great town because people feel happy here.”
Programmes for the event are £2 and can be bought on the day or in advance from Wokingham Information Centre, Bookends, More Arts shop or Wokingham Library.
For more details about Diamond Jubilee events, visit www.jubilee.wokingham-tc.gov.uk