It was a watery start for Bridgham as villagers took to the River Thet in the first of three days of jubilee celebrations.

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Members of the community and people from the surrounding area sailed from East Harling this morning (Saturday) as part of a flotilla, to Whitegate Sculpture Park in Bridgham where they disembarked to a Pimm’s reception, picnic, barbecue and punt racing - all accompanied by live jazz from the Bridgham Beanos.

The celebrations marked the start of three-days worth of events, organised by David O’Neale, from Bridgham

He said around 150 people turned out this morning alone and added: “I think what’s really important is celebrating the community and also it’s a way of celebrating nationhood.

“There are people here having picnics and dancing and playing games and barbecuing - it’s wonderful.”

This afternoon there will be a tea dance, cream teas and slide show of past events in Bridgham Village Hall.

William Fairbank, who organised the flotilla, said: “We decided on a flotilla because we couldn’t all fit in one boat but it’s a chance for everybody to get together.”

Reverend Lynn Fry, of St Peter and St Paul Church in East Harling, who took part in the event added that it was a chance for the whole community to get involved.

“It’s about unity and communities coming together and perhaps having a weekend where we don’t think about the economy and unemployment,” she said.

Tim Jolly, from Roudham, sailed with his son Dan in a specially-decorated craft complete with union jacks and home-made bunting.

“It’s good fun for everybody,” he said. “The community is having a really good time. It’s a way to bring everybody together and I hope every community has a celebration of some description and gets to know their neighbours better.”

On Monday the celebrations will continue with a Big Lunch in a marquee on Mill Field, followed by entertainment and attractions.

It’s a Right Royal Knockout will take place on Mill Field on Tuesday along with a free children’s sports event at the half-way stage and a parents’ race.




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