Scores of street parties took place across Greater Manchester on a wet Bank Holiday Sunday after people decided to brave the rain to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. A few events were called off or brought forward after the Met Office issued a yellow warning for thunderstorms across most of England for today (June 5).
However, in the true spirit of an often drizzly-Manchester, many organisers decided to throw caution to the wind and went ahead with their celebrations as planned, coming up with inventive ways to keep partygoers dry.
The Queen appears on the Buckingham Palace balcony as Jubilee celebrations end
Alder Road in Failsworth considered cancelling their street party, before residents decided they could muddle enough gazebos, garden parasols, and tents together to keep everyone dry. One lady even headed out to buy a gazebo on the day specifically to help keep everyone dry.
Georgina Poole, the organiser of the event, said: “We’re not going to let the rain stop us, we’re made of sterner stuff and we’re from Manchester so we’re used to this. We’ve got all the food sorted and each house has brought something to the party and it just felt like such a waste to not enjoy it properly.
“Everybody’s clubbing together really which is what it’s all about. I’m most excited about having the road closed off, we did something last year for VE Day but because of Covid we had to sit on our own gardens and the traffic was quite disruptive.
“Normally it’s like a race track down here so that was a big part of wanting to come out today. Until this we didn’t really know each other properly so it’s nice. I wanted to spend the grant for the kids mostly.
“I’ve been trying to think of games and food from 1952-2022 for them so we’ve got things like trifle, pineapple and cheese, and then they’re all going to play Kerbsies later on. There’s also going to be some games with some prizes.”
Georgina started planning the event around February this year, when another neighbour Brenda Braithwaite suggested they host an event to bring the whole street together. Once they’d decided to host a party, a number of households started meeting in the pub at the end of the road every Thursday to get to know each other properly.
She applied for one of the grants from Oldham Council to fund the party, and spent the £250 making the best possible event for the 20 children who live on the street, by renting a bouncy castle, before asking an ice cream van to come around in the early afternoon.
Kids were also given little souvenirs – a commemorative mug to mark the Jubilee, packed up with bags of sweets to enjoy on the day. The grant also covered the cost of buying BBQ food for everyone in attendance, with various people from around the street making cakes, snacks, and sandwiches to help feed the party too.
Brenda Braithwaite, who kickstarted the initial idea to have a party, added: “I’ve lived here 50 odd years but you don’t know all of the neighbours anymore. It’s been an opportunity to get to know everyone and make friends and get the children happy.
“There’s a sense of community too, we seem to have lost that throughout the years, people are busy with their lives and forget how to communicate, this is a chance for all of us to remember how to do that.”
Over in Tameside, and Barbara Mullis had planned to celebrate the Jubilee with her neighbours in Rivington Grove on Sunday, but made the decision to move the street party forward to yesterday evening so the elderly neighbours would be able to join in.
She said: “We had a great time, we have quite a few elderly people on the street so we felt like we didn’t have much choice but it was great. It was lovely weather until it started to get a bit chilly, I’m really glad we managed to make it work.”
The rain didn’t put Gary Dewsbury on Chester Avenue off at all, steaming ahead at full speed to prepare for the festivities today.
Families gathered outside on the crescent throughout the afternoon, after several neighbours had put up tarpaulin in a communal green space in the centre of the circle to keep the rain at bay.
Although the event started out on the street, as the rain grew heavier as the afternoon went on, people moved tables, chairs, and food underneath the sheets, with music blasting through the street to keep spirits high.
There was also games and face painting for the kids, and another BBQ was started to help feed the street – alongside dozens of dishes of cakes, biscuits, snacks, a massive potato pie, and even a curry.
Gary’s wife Judith, who helped him organise the event, said: “We thought it’d be nice to get everyone together, there’s a lot of new neighbours so we didn’t all know each other that well and thought why not hey? Any excuse for a party.
“We have some people from different cultures living here too, there are some Polish and Ukrainian families, and they’ve all brought some of their traditional dishes today so that’s been really nice too.
“Everybody has done their bit, everyone made an effort to help and we’ve got pretty much everyone out here now too. Some people have brought their extended families too which is really nice to get to meet people and it’s great to get together.”
Elsewhere, Whittles@Tokyo in Oldham decided to move their street party with music from the big band English Jazz Orchestra inside, setting up the party indoors to let the band stay dry whilst they play.
Festivities in London are also wrapping up, with the final day of the four day Jubilee Bank Holiday concluding with the Jubilee Pageant, which saw the Queen appear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after missing most of this weekend’s activities due to “discomfort”.
Sign up to the MEN email newsletters to get the latest on sport, news, what’s on and more by following this link