Singing and dancing helped keep people’s spirits up which were not dampened by the wet weather during Dereham’s big diamond jubilee celebrations on Sunday.

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The Dereham Town Singers, which only formed last year, performed the Military Wives’ Choir’s Wherever You Are, as well as other favourites from across the decades of the Queen’s reign.

Major Will Leek, from the Army’s Light Dragoons, who are based in nearby Swanton Morley, received £1,000 for the regiment’s Colonel’s Fund from Dereham’s Railway Tavern landlord Paul Sandford.

The fund, which will help soldiers who have been affected by conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, aims to raise £1m by November.

Major Leek said: “I would like to thank the town of Dereham for the continued support it gives us.”

Dignitaries and members of ex-service organisations were on the stage while the crowd sang the National Anthem just before 3pm, with standards from ex service organisations on the stage.

The Army played a big part in the day and three of their armoured vehicles proved a huge draw to local youngsters.

The event was organised by a small team from Dereham Churches Together, with huge support from a big team of volunteers who were in the Market Place from early in the morning putting up patriotic decorations.

Other attractions during the afternoon included music from local band The Thinking Men, duo The Puddlemarys, singer Rachel Fitzgerald, as well as performances from members of the Dance With Me Academy and Act Too Performing Arts. There was a also a surprise appearance by Marea Smithson from Hockering, who received national fame when she appeared as an impressionist on Britain’s Got Talent.

The day ended with a Beatles medley by students from the town’s JDT Music Academy.

Robin Goreham, chairman of Breckland Council said: “It is brilliant to see so many people turn out in Dereham. It is great honour for me as a Dereham bloke to me made chairman of Breckland Council.”

Jon Beardon, minister of the Wellspring Family Church, said: “There are so many people here. It is make dream come true.”

A range of local organisations ran stalls and games and the local fire service and police also had vehicles on display.

Two steam vehicles provided an extra attraction and people were fed by a huge barbecue.

The organisers received backing from a wide range of groups and companies including Jack Richards which loaned a trailer for the stage, Dereham Lions and Round table, Co-Opm, Tesco, Dereham Town Council, Flag Wizard, Norfolk County Council, Scouts, Air Cadets, Army Cadets, local individuals and QD.

One of the stalls was run by Dereham St Nicholas Messy Church and children made jubilee crowns and entered into the sand castle fit for a Queen competition.

A total of 74 entries made for a close run competition, but in the end five-year-old Joshua Chester of Toftwood won the five years and under category and in the over fives category the winner was Jack Bugeja from Dereham.

Each winner received a diamond jubilee Mug full of sweets with accompanying gifts.

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