The Brandeston Diamond Jubilee Weekend
2 to 5 June 2012
Well, it’s over, apart from some forlorn bunting in the street. All we have left now are our memories of the weekend which was a long time in the planning and the continuing urge to share these with our friends and neighbours. One villager with a house full of invited guests summed it up succinctly when she said, “It made me feel really proud to live in Brandeston.”
There was a lot to be proud of. From the moment the village hall committee decided to organise a jubilee weekend celebration with a series of events, it seemed as if no time had passed before the bunting parties came out into the street and the excitement started mounting. Forget good taste for the weekend – the more flags the better. The red, white and blue flowers were planted out and outfits for the weekend planned.
On Jubilee Sunday, the only topic of conversation in the morning was the weather. Frantic e-mails and phone calls were bandied to and fro with all of us desperate for some positives to hold on to when all we had to do was to look out of the window. It was cold, it was wet and it was windy. However, once the decision was taken to go ahead, it was all hands on deck and a large working party, expertly handled by Karren (above), closed the Street, moved tables, chairs and urns, set up the sound system and the red, white and blue decorations. What a sight! The tables stretched over 300 feet from the village hall to the pub. Almost 300 people turned up in carefully chosen outfits clutching large umbrellas in one hand and a glass (or a cake) in the other. Nothing was going to stop us having fun and everyone from the ages of 2 to 92 joined in the chat and camaraderie.
It’s not often that everyone in the village gets together like this and the feeling of warm friendship was fuelled by cups of tea and a drink. The children’s games had to be abandoned because of the weather but Helen (above left), Lydia Freeman’s daughter, entertained us with some amusing songs ending with the National Anthem and a toast to the Queen. After much flag waving it was time to pack up and open the street, rush home to get warm and watch the day’s highlights on the telly.
The Old Chapel in Mill Lane was open over the weekend with an exhibition of Brandeston memorabilia with a clear focus on the Coronation and village celebrations over the years. Jackie Hounsell (right) had worked hard with the presentation of exhibits and it was so easy to spend time admiring Kathleen Taylor’s dress that she wore to the Coronation Ball, two stools used at the Coronation service and Coronation bunting still intact in its wonderful leather case. The old photos were riveting. We were all spotting our earlier selves and wondering at the passage of time.
Monday night brought yet another treat. Thanks to Lucy and Aaron, who allowed us to use their wedding marquee, Brandeston held its very own Jubilee Ball, expertly organised by Kathy Churchill and her team (below). 185 people spent a most enjoyable evening in beautiful surroundings eating, drinking and dancing until the small hours. What a night. The team was up early the next morning though to tidy everything in readiness for the dismantling of the marquee.
So, looking back over the weekend, what do we remember? The hard work and the abysmal weather fade into the background and what we are left with is a warm glow fuelled by our lovely friends and neighbours. Proud to live in Brandeston? I think so!
Photos from the jubilee weekend are here.