The Queen's Platinum Jubilee

A Right Royal Platinum Jubilee in Orwell !


Photo:Orwell's Platinum Jubilee Programme

Orwell's Platinum Jubilee Programme

Orwell emerged from the socially distanced fog of the previous two years to put on a fitting four days of celebration for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in June.   Undeterred by bureaucracy and a depressing weather forecast for Sunday, a small committee of residents, coordinated by Gill Kenyon, planned a programme to keep us all dancing, singing, cheering and generally socialising as we looked back on our Queen’s seventy year reign.  Many residents joined in to help with the considerable logistics involved.

Well before the Jubilee weekend houses around the village were hung with bunting and several ‘Queens’ were to be seen in front gardens clutching corgis and surrounded by red, white and blue flowers. A stylish marquee was erected on the recreation ground, funded by the parish council and obtained at the eleventh hour by the parish clerk when the original supplier closed down.  Andrew Stone took on the unenviable task of moving dozens of chairs from the Pavilion loft to the marquee and back again, helped by Joe and Eddy Haynes.  Orwell Guides, Brownies and Rainbows decorated a tree, notice boards, benches and bus shelters and even the main village post box with hand-made bunting and pompoms.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Queen's Platinum Jubilee' page
Tanya knitted the post box topper, an excellent piece of handiwork!  (The Guides’ contributions to all national celebrations are becoming a regular and welcome feature).   A team of ‘Spike’ Squires, Michael Kenyon and ‘Smichael ‘ Clarke hung bunting along Town Green Road and Jazz (Jasmin) Squires made sure that The Chequers was bright with bunting and flags,  while Chequers Close residents next to the pub went to town with bows and bunting and a royal insignia skilfully painted by graphic artist Barry Russell.   

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Queen's Platinum Jubilee' page
Up at St Andrew’s Orwell florist Janet Flack,
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Queen's Platinum Jubilee' page
aided by Donna Titchmarsh and Carol Russell, filled the church with beautiful flower arrangements in red, white and blue.  The Union Flag flew on St Andrew’s tower throughout the Jubilee.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Queen's Platinum Jubilee' page
Our celebrations began on the evening of Thursday 2nd of June on Toot Hill at the Clunch Pit with the lighting of the Beacon, organised by Clunch Pit Management Trust Treasurer Nick Chambers with help from Trust secretary Clive Pickton. The beacon contained a new fire basket, made by Lucas Ling of Dark Lane Forge, Chrishall to a design by Nick Chambers and paid for by the parish council.  Paddy Ward did the computer drawing for the 1952 EiiR 2022 lettering on the fire basket.  Nick, Paddy, Andrew Stone and Jonny Tabor  supplied the wood, packed into the basket from a cherry picker kindly loaned by Andrew Pennington of Haslingfield.  Rachel and Chris Hayden were kept very busy dispensing Prosecco to the hundreds of Orwellians who climbed the hill to witness the lighting.   ‘Spike’ lit the way for them with Orwell Football Club’s floodlights, strategically placed for safe access.  Ours was one of over 3,500 beacons lit throughout the UK and across the Commonwealth.

Orwell Guild of Bellringers took up the celebration on the morning of Friday 3rd ringing rounds, Plain Bob Doubles and Grandsire Doubles.; the ringers were Dave Hawkins, Julie Beesley, Richard Martin, Geoff Perryman, Caroline Crews, Jonny Tabor, Anne Judd and Lin Churchman. Throughout the country over 200 full peals were rung, each of three hours or more in length and over 3,200 quarter peals.

On Friday afternoon Churchwarden Katie Reid, Lay Minister Amanda Tuck  and Sue Ward ran a hugely popular Family Bingo session in the recreation ground marquee., with Revd. Felicity as ‘caller’.  Sixty attendees were expected but over eighty turned up, which stretched the supplies of strawberries and Pimms somewhat, but everyone enjoyed a very sociable afternoon.   This event raised over £300 for St Andrew’s Organ Fund.

Saturday morning saw Orwell Jubilee Pannier Market attracting shoppers to the recreation ground with stalls selling everything from Cretan honey and cheese to plants and soft furnishings.  A Clunch Pit Management team of Nick Chambers, aided by Colin Hoptroff, Ailsa Wymes, Paddy Ward and Rachel & Chris Hayden  made sure that bacon butties and coffee were in good supply.

Our County Councillor Sebastian Kindersley toured the village to judge the Best Decorated House competition, a difficult task as there were some wonderful tableaux with life-like Queens surrounded by mementoes of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.  Carole Bailey was the winner with her daughter Kirsten, Donna Titchmarsh, Karen Butler and Wayne Tamcken as runners-up.

Then came the highlight of the weekend, A Right Royal Turn in a Tent, held in the marquee on Saturday evening.  Dave Hawkins, inspired by memories of the former Orwell Players’ revues held in the Show marquee in the days of Orwell Horticultural Show, had gathered in the best of local talent and first on were the Orwell Singers who started their set with audience participation for the National Anthem.  The concert continued with solos and duets on violin and clarinet by Susan McAdam and Naomi Marris, accompanied by Christopher Hayward and a virtuoso performance by young pianist Jessica Gibson.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Queen's Platinum Jubilee' page
Christopher also treated us to an amazing performance on his musical saw  and Richard Sproulle pleased with Midnight in Moscow and other popular tunes on his tenor Saxophone.  Barry Sharman brought the house down with his rendition of The Lion & Albert and we enjoyed a wide variety of well-known tunes from local musicians Impromptu..

By 9.30pm everyone was dancing to light rock n’roll from TrickyVicky (Dave & Vicky Hawkins and Ian Noble) with Orwell Football Club’s floodlights again set up by ‘Spike’ to provide extra lighting.  Sound engineer Ian Noble generously provided amplification and music throughout the evening and again at the Sunday Street party.  Dancing continued with a playlist of well-known songs and music from past decades of the Queen’s reign cleverly put together by Jazz Squires and played by Ian Noble; and noble he certainly was as, seeing how much everyone was enjoying themselves, he played on till 1.00am and it was 2.45am before he and his son had all their gear packed away.  The enormous enjoyment and relief from the pandemic restrictions of the past two years was very plain to see, but Orwell would surely benefit from an evening like this every summer.

Nick Chambers organised and ran a Bar throughout evening, raising a profit of £771.41 which is pledged for the planting of trees and hedgerows in Orwell as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative. 

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Queen's Platinum Jubilee' page
Special thanks go to Maggie and Dave Gould, Spike (resplendent in a Union Jack dress) and Jazz Squires for setting up and serving at the Bar, helped by Ian Carruthers and Emma and Jonny Tabor.  Spike was everywhere over the weekend, also acting as official First Aider and transporting chairs and tables in his company van !  Takeaway suppers were available from Tina at The Chequers, ferried to the marquee by Matt and Sam Grimley.

A more reflective and peaceful atmosphere reigned in the marquee on Sunday morning with a United Service led by Amanda Tuck and attended by about fifty people. The service included the singing of the National Anthem and readings, hymns and prayers for the Queen and the Royal Family. Music was provided by Impromptu and Naomi Marris.

Sunday morning had dawned chill and damp, but after the Jubilee committee’s battle with Cambs. Highway Events office we were not going to abandon the Street Party.  The lovely Women of Orwell had offered to organise a picnic on the recreation ground when it seemed that we would not be allowed to close Town Green Road, but when it was rumoured that Closes around the village would be holding their own street parties we gave in to bureaucracy and made it one big community event.

The entire WOW committee nevertheless made a great contribution to the day.  They encouraged people to hang their best memories of the past seventy years on the Memory Tree at Chapel Orchard. They produced a Royal Quiz and also staged competitions for the best dressed Royals and best crown.  A game of Splat the Rat, set up by Val Rees in the Chequers’ garden, provided entertainment for children.  Orwell Village Stores stayed open for longer than usual in case party goers ran short of supplies.  At The Chequers Jazz kept the drinks flowing and Ian broadcast music from the porch.  The Methodist Community kindly lent us their chairs and gave us the use of the chapel schoolroom for an exhibition by Orwell Local History Society on life in Coronation Year 1952. 

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Queen's Platinum Jubilee' page
WOW ladies and husbands arranged chairs and trestle tables down the street, residents brought out their garden furniture, including gazebos and umbrellas  and the Jubilee lunch lasted until 3.30pm when Gerry Burnell brought the celebrations to a close with three cheers for Her Majesty and sincere thanks on behalf of the village to all those who had worked so hard to commemorate the Jubilee.  Prizes were presented to Carole Bailey and the runners-up in the Best Decorated House competition and to the winners of the WOW competitions, but the Best Dressed Royals did not leave their names.

Many thanks to everyone who helped mark  this unique Jubilee and a special thankyou goes to our sponsors – Wilsher’s Garages, Mantles Kia of Royston, East of England Veterinary Specialists , AC Stoneworks and Melbourn Flooring.   Their generosity paid for closure of Town Green Road for the Street Party, for flowers in St Andrew’s, Street Party prizes and bunting.  Barry Sharman designed and printed all the Jubilee posters and tickets, kindly donating his time and materials.  Our parish council funded the marquee hire, the cost of the new beacon fire basket, drinks and other expenses of the Beacon Lighting.




This page was added by Sue Miller on 07/09/2022.

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