Not even the rain could stop celebrations for 70 years of reign.
Preston’s Platinum Jubilee party was completely packed out as people across different communities came together in with ‘The Big Lunch’.
It was just one of the 85,000 lunches taking place across the country, but the organisers say it was the biggest in the country with thousands turning out to enjoy foods and entertainment from so many cultures.
It’s hard to ignore the backdrop with which the Platinum Jubilee falls on – a deepening cost of living crisis.
Many millions across the country are feeling the pinch and such celebrations can be expensive, as families struggle with the rising cost of the weekly shop.
It’s why Preston celebrated with all that in mind.
Organisers of the Big Jubilee Lunch here arranged more than 1,000 free meals for those who are on low incomes, a way to make this special day as inclusive as possible.
It was on top of free entertainment, free arts and crafts sessions and free fairground rides.
Nikki Thompson, regional charity manager for Cash for Kids, told us the aim of the event was to make the jubilee celebrations accessible for everyone.
She said: “It was really important to us that families could actually come down and not spend any money if they didn’t want to or couldn’t afford to.
“There’s a lot of the elements here today that are free, so the entertainment is all free today, there’s free food, there’s arts and crafts for the children. Through these difficult times we just want everyone to be involved.”
From the stall set up by Preston’s gurdwara the smells were incredible.
They supplied more than 650 plates of traditional South Asian food for free and organiser Gulab Singh said it was needed now more than ever.
He said: “We’re going through difficult times now, the hardship that people are facing, it’s important that those people who are finding it difficult through no circumstances of their own, don’t feel excluded from the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
“It’s why we wanted to put on free food for those who can’t afford it or couldn’t bring any along.”
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There were so many different reasons why people wanted to come to Preston to mark the Platinum Jubilee through this event – from their sheer love for the Queen, to finally after so long being able to enjoy some positivity and celebration.
And a colourful, inclusive and diverse day with plenty of rain couldn’t have been more fitting and British.
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