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Photograph Simon Parker 2/6/2012 Residents of Bridgham Celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with their own flotilla from East Harling to Bridgham along the River although the launch point provided some challenges with a low water level
By REBECCA GOUGH
Sunday, June 3, 2012
It was a watery start for Bridgham as villagers took to the River Thet in the first of three days of jubilee celebrations.
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.