Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – 4th June.

Monday 4th June 2012 will see Bideford marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a civic parade along the Quay followed by a family-friendly party in the park.  The parade, led by the Youth Pipe Band, will leave the Town Hall at 3.00 pm and anyone wearing 1950s dress will be invited to become part of the procession.  To make this a safe event there will be a temporary road closure between 3.00 pm and 3.45 pm for Bideford Quay. The parade will stop at Jubilee Square for a 10 cannon salute and then continue on to the park where it will be greeted by music from the Bideford Town Band.
Following on from this, music will be provided throughout the afternoon by the ex- radio one roadshow. Local groups will be providing displays and entertainment, and there will also be traditional fairground rides and food outlets with the festivities continuing until 8.00 pm.  So come along, bring a rug and a picnic, and make it a day to remember.
There are still some spare slots for groups and organisations who would like to put on a display during the afternoon.  This can be arranged by calling Bideford Town Council: 01237 428817.

Memories of earlier Jubilees

Silver Jubilee 1977, in Stucely Road.  ‘I can just about remember the day, even though I was only four-ish at the time. Mum said they had a huge tea urn to supply the street and were serving hot dogs at the other end of the street’ – Gaylena Humphries.

Silver Jubilee 1935, in Torrington Lane.  (Sitting left : Beryl Braunton.  Next two girls called Mills, Joyce Rivers holding Pam Shortridge, Herb Squires,Reg Mower, ‘Jimmo’ Geary, Derek Shortridge, Billy Paddon, Reg Spearman, ‘Curly’ Paddon, Arthur and John Osborne).

Jubilees, coronations, and the like have marked some seemingly notable events in my family’s  life.  For instance my mother was born in 1897 the same year as Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Mum would have been one hundred and fifteen in April. In 1901 at the ripe age of four she went with one of her sisters to watch Queen Victoria’s funeral and the seven kings who rode in the procession. I think she was really more interested in the Queen’s little dog as it obediently trotted along on its lead held by a footman.  She told me the crowds were immense and at first all she could see was a sea of legs making an impenetrable barrier between her and the procession. Prevented from seeing anything she complained loud and long “I want to see! I want to see!” Suddenly in sheer exasperation,  a man picked her up and sat her on his shoulders for a grandstand view denied to her sister; who the man was we shall never know.
Next came the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, latterly the Queen Mother who, as a little girl of seven, danced several jigs and reels for my Grandmother. In 1937, I was aged four, it was a beautiful day and one of my uncles gave all of my brothers and cousins a coronation mug. Bitterly disappointed  not to be included, I asked my mother “Why haven’t I got one?” “You’re too young, you would only break it if you had it”. “No I  wouldn’t.  Mick and John and Wally have got one. Why can’t I have one?”. “If you start making a fuss I’ll take you home and send you to bed”.  I never did get one.

In 1952 my in-laws were invited to the Coronation of our present Queen, and they
had to be at their places in the Abbey four or five hours before the ceremony began.  They
sat on narrow but especially made wooden stools upholstered  in royal blue velvet edged with gold braid. Thoughtfully the designer and maker had provided a concave seat to fit the seats of the privileged, but after five hours conversation had long ground to a halt, and for more than a few the generous curve was not generous enough. However, once the ceremony began all was forgotten and the ‘stool pigeons’ were allowed to keep the stools they had sat on. My in-laws came away with two sequentially numbered,  and a yard of cloth-of-gold that had been woven by members of the Royal Institute of Embroidery, part of the Abbey drapery.   It’s 2012 another Diamond Jubilee, I won’t be invited and I don’t have a television so I can’t watch but God bless her Majesty all the same

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