Jubilee celebrations showed the real value of the monarchy
- Credit: charlotte Bond
Last week saw an incredible, historic moment in our country’s history. With the celebrations for Her Majesty the Queen’s 70th year on the throne, the UK has seen wonderful events up and down the country.
In Ipswich, we had a fantastic few days over the Jubilee Bank Holiday. There was a real sense that the town lifted in spirits and I felt a real positivity in the atmosphere over the weekend.
In my opinion, this goes to show the real value of the monarchy and royal traditions in sparking positivity and lifting spirits in towns across the UK.
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending 14 local jubilee celebrations across the town, which made for a wonderful if slightly hectic two days. One of the main things I noticed over the weekend was the broad range and real diversity in types of events and ways of celebrating. From costume competitions to street parties, Ipswich has seen an explosion of activity in red, white and blue.
It’s great to see the enthusiasm and affection for the Queen - from primary school children entering the Jubilee Card Competition and costume events to the family parties and community gatherings – it really was a celebration that reached far and wide, and includes everyone from all the communities in Ipswich and across the generations.
These events all had at least two things in common: they were joyous occasions bringing everyone together from their communities, and they demonstrated immense support and pride in Her Majesty.
From the Royston Drive street party in Chantry to the Karibu African women’s support group party at Burlington Church Hall, the very traditional jubilee street party on Mildmay Road in Gainsborough to the incredibly well attended Cliff Lane party, I felt privileged to gain a real insight into the level of affection across the town for our very special head of state.
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Since I was elected as your Member of Parliament in 2019, I was unfortunately hamstrung by pandemic restrictions in getting out and about in the community. Meeting residents in the town is the best and arguably most important part of the job, and something which was sadly restricted due to Covid. As a result, I was particularly keen to visit as many people and events as possible over the weekend. The past few days have provided me with a brilliant opportunity to meet whole communities and share with them a truly historic occasion - one we will all remember. It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with constituents across Ipswich, to see familiar faces and to meet everyone in person.
I would like to thank everyone who I met for making me feel so welcome and for allowing me to be part of a unique moment for your community. I received a number of invitations to celebrations over the weekend and dropped by as many street parties as I could. I was also able to pop into some of our town’s events spontaneously and unannounced, and would like to thank the organisers for being so warm towards me and all those attending. I would also like to apologise for those community events I wasn’t able to attend. I think when it came to the weekend, I may have been a little over-ambitious when it came to the number of events I thought I could physically attend. Perhaps if I’d had a helicopter I could have got to a few more, but as we all know, getting about the town by car isn’t always the easiest experience.
It wouldn’t have been a truly British weekend if we didn’t have a spot of rain, but thankfully the weather mostly held out other than a bit of drizzle and a grey sky on Sunday. It was very clear from the huge attendance at all the events I managed to see that the weather was not going to be a barrier to people coming together to mark the occasion.
A particular highlight for me was seeing how the youngsters of Ipswich embraced the occasion so wholeheartedly. I decided to host a Jubilee Card Competition, to send a message of congratulations to Her Majesty the Queen with a design by a pupil from an Ipswich primary school, and I was honestly bowled over by the positive response from across the town. There were over 1,000 entries, surpassing even that of the Christmas Card Competition. With some wonderful artistic talent displayed, the choice was tricky, to say the least, but the winning design captured a combination of fresh creativity and traditional imagery, depicting a cup of tea among classic British symbols.
I also judged a fancy-dress competition on Cliff Lane, entered by over 30 children. From the enthusiastic participation of children across the town in events and creative competitions to mark the celebrations, it’s clear that the young people of Ipswich hold the Queen in great affection. As a firm royalist, I very much hope this is a sign that the monarchy is in safe hands for years to come!
The Queen is a remarkable human being and we’re extremely lucky to have her. In addition to the local events I attended, like all of you I hugely enjoyed following the national celebrations on TV. The personal highlight for me was the smile that appeared on the Queen’s face more than once. She can be in no doubt how much love the country has for her, and I am in no doubt about the regard we have for her here in Ipswich.