Jubilee to be biggest ever celebration

Special Guest: Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport of Belper was the special guest who opened the Jubilee charity event at Matlock Rugby Club, Cromford Meadows.
Special Guest: Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport of Belper was the special guest who opened the Jubilee charity event at Matlock Rugby Club, Cromford Meadows.
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Organisers of festivities lined up across Belper for the jubilee have predicted it will be the most successful event ever in the town.

More than 200 patriotic celebrations are planned and it is thought the resulting feelgood factor could exceed even that which was experienced in the town during Her Majesty’s Coronation year in 1953.

Indeed, Belper is thought to be one of the busiest small localities in Derbyshire and perhaps Britain during this weekend’s mass celebration of Elizabeth II’s reign, thanks to events such as Belper Short Plays Festival, Belper Open Houses, Derbyshire Open Arts as well as a host of activities organised by the town council and various street parties and activites at North Mill.

Chairman of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Committee on Belper Town Council, John Nelson, said: “I saw the town’s golden jubilee and coronation celebrations and they were nothing on the scale of this.

“I don’t think Belper has seen anything as big and as organised – it’s the largest celebration we have had and we are hoping for thousands of people.

“The enthusiasm in getting these events together has been tremendous and they really will be second to none.”

From the children at the town’s primary schools to the over-55s committee at Heritage Court, people from every walk of life will be staging their own smaller celebrations.

And the town’s outlying villages are also getting in on the action. Amber Valley Borough Council has received nine applications for street parties – two in Belper on Spring Close and Springwood Gardens as well as two in Duffield and one each in Denby, Crich, Ambergate, Kilburn and Heage.

The goings-on in the centre of town will get their own Royal seal of approval when Belper’s Princess Victoria lookalike EmmaMoore and her mum Dawn arrive by carriage at 11am on Sunday June 3 in the River Gardens. Emma, aged 13, will be recreating a visit by Victoria and her mother the Duchess of Kent to the Belper area in 1832.

Children are being encouraged to come down and dress up as the cheering mill children who greeted the Royal visitors nearly two centuries ago. Flags will be available for onlookers to wave before the royal visitors are escorted in to the gardens to switch on a new fountain in the mill pond and cut the ribbon on the new boating facilities.

Chairman of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Board, Andrew Lewer, said: “June 3 will not only commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee but also celebrate Derbyshire’s only World Heritage Site and the work of the many people who volunteer their time to make it such a success.”

Jubilee round-up: page five.