Wednesday, 6 June 2012
Exciting, exhausting and unforgettable
WHAT a week! I’m not sure how best to describe the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Lyme Regis. Exciting, high-spirited, great atmosphere with plenty of flag-waving and cheering the Queen. Perhaps overwhelming, emotional and exhausting (at some points I was near hysterical)! But most of all… fantastic.
I think most of my readers would agree that the programme of almost 40 events was an undoubted success, pulling the crowds in and bringing the community together.
There isn’t any better example of that than the BIG Jubilee Sunday Lunch when almost 200 diners squeezed into the Woodmead Halls for roast beef, cheering as the Queen went aboard her royal barge for the Thames Jubilee Pageant, which was shown on a big screen.
So high-spirited was the atmosphere that I was genuinely upset to leave after serving the first course to cover more events in neighbouring towns.
The civic procession on Saturday morning was also a great show of community spirit, with an unexpected number of local organisations marching behind the mayor, civic party and Chelsea Pensioners.
The Pensioners themselves won huge cheers from the crowds - you would have thought the Queen herself had turned up unannounced!
The highlight for me, though, was Monday. I was non-stop from 7am til 10.30pm but I enjoyed every minute.
The 1950s Tea Party on Marine Parade was another resounding success with huge crowds making it difficult to get anywhere near the cake!
Alongside the party I was running my scone bake-off. Well done to judges Tim Bell from the Marine Theatre (who put in extra effort with his 1950s costume, even shaving his beard) and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Anita Williams, who I’m sure felt a little worse for wear after eating their way through six scone entries. Congratulations to winners Mulberry Manor.
The Maritime Celebrations later that afternoon were the best part. I was lucky enough to join the Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Sally Holman, Mayoress Jane Whittington and the Chelsea Pensioners on board their boat for the sail past a salute.
The sailing community pulled out all the stops to decorate their boats for the occasion and looked like they were having a great time, sipping champagne and waving flags as the Mayor passed. The atmosphere was infectious.
Thanks for letting me come aboard and well done to all who took part. I’m told it looked fantastic from the shore.
Finally the Torchlight Procession finished off the day and spirits were kept high as the Chelsea Pensioners broke into Second World War songs on route.
The procession stretched across the whole of the Cobb and was finished with the mayor lighting our Jubilee Beacon on the North Wall - one of the first of thousands to be lit across the country.
I ended the day in the Cobb Arms, just in time to catch the finale of the Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace. Drinkers fell quiet to listen to Prince Charles’ speech, marking his mother’s 60-year reign before the final beacon was lit by Her Majesty.
I know I’ll remember that day for a long, long time.
And even better, as I write this early on Tuesday morning, the celebrations aren’t even over yet. Although the weather has changed (we were so lucky up until now), I’m looking forward to the childen’s fancy dress, street party and Jubilee Finale later today.
When you’re reading this on Wednesday I shall probably be collapsed at my desk or in bed catching up on all the national jubilee events I didn’t manage to watch.
It really has been a great weekend for the town and one many of us will never forget.
In years to come, when I’m asked where I was for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I’ll say: “I was in Lyme Regis and it was brilliant!”