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Crowds flock to Gostrey Meadow for jubilee Big Lunch

Band playing on a stage

Gostrey Meadow was packed to the brim with jubilant picnickers (on Sunday, 5 June) who came together to celebrate HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at the Big Lunch. While they tucked into their picnics, they were entertained with live music to sing along to. 

The Mayor of Farnham, Councillor Alan Earwaker, who opened the picnic, delighted the crowds by arriving in a classic Willys Jeep reminiscent of the sort the Queen has been photographed in during several international visits and was accompanied by the Farnham branch of the Royal British Legion. 

In his opening speech the Mayor welcomed residents and paid tribute to HM The Queen: “Her Majesty has maintained public support through an amazing 70 years as Queen, showing true leadership and being an inspiring symbol both in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth.” 

Before inviting the crowd to sit back and enjoy the music, performances and stalls, he continued, adding that the Queen “has shown selflessness, dedication and commitment in everything she has done. She has gained tremendous respect across the world with her wisdom, poise, dignity, humour and warm nature, and we can only marvel at her resilience and achievements.”

The Mayor also thanked Kidd Rapinet Solicitors who are generously sponsoring Farnham’s programme of summer events, including the Big Lunch.

Extra touches to the day brought an air of patriotic nostalgia; tables adorned with red, white and blue coverings were arranged to form a Union Flag, creating a stunning focal point. Local resident Meg Daniels, said: “Congratulations to all concerned. The table coverings were an inspiration. It was a super community event.”

As well as homemade picnics and live music from the last seven decades, residents enjoyed the chance to make a jubilee flag at the pop-up Maltings Craft zone in the bandstand, a tea tent hosted by Spire Church and ice cream. Music came from Vic Cracknell’s Swing Band, Farnham Rock Choir, Omiro’s String Duo, Electrica, the Ultimate Party Band and a performance of taiko drumming. 

Summing up the day, the Mayor said: “It was wonderful to see so many families, groups of friends and couples come to Gostrey Meadow to join in a heartfelt celebration of this unique event in UK history. The atmosphere was truly joyous and bursting with community spirit. The Big Lunch brought together multiple generations of Farnham residents, from babies to people old enough to remember the coronation itself.”

As well as the Big Lunch, which was organised by Farnham Town Council, Farnham marked the launch of the jubilee weekend by lighting a beacon at Farnham castle as part of the national beacon programme across the country. Volunteers and representatives of local organisations were invited to join the Queen’s representative Rob Douglas CBE DL and the Mayors of Farnham and Waverley as specially commissioned pieces for choir and bagpipes and a new Jubilee Fanfare were played. Residents all over Farnham also held street parties and fetes to celebrate.

See photos from the Big Lunch.

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