A record number of people across the country sat down today with their neighbours for a Big Jubilee Lunch. Organisers estimate that more than six million people took part in the annual Big Lunch community get together – this year to celebrate The Queen’s 60-year reign.
Big Jubilee Lunches were hosted in every nook and cranny of the UK: from the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides to the Isle of Wight, from Hillsborough Castle in County Down to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk to Penzance in Cornwall.
The tens of thousands of Big Jubilee Lunches took many forms, from traditional street parties to picnic lunches in back gardens or local parks. Lunches ranged in size from private gatherings of 10 people, to larger public lunches for thousands – with the largest in Greenwich, south east London, hosting up to 10,000 people.
Big Jubilee Lunch Director, Peter Stewart, said: “We knew that this year’s Big Lunch was going to be extra special. It has really captured the nation’s imagination – not to say its love of a royal celebration. We have been bowled over by the response from people up and down the country who not only wanted to get together and have lunch with their neighbours, but wanted to celebrate this very special occasion in a time-honoured fashion.”
It’s not just the UK that broke out the bunting for a Big Jubilee Lunch. From sunrise to sunset today, people in 70 countries across the globe took part in Big Lunches to celebrate The Queen’s 60-year reign. International lunches have been held in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Islamabad, Delhi, Durban, Kathmandu, on the Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu and even in the Arctic Circle.
The Lottery-funded Big Jubilee Lunch is part of the programme of events taking place this weekend to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as announced by Buckingham Palace, and has Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall as its patron. Led by the Eden Project, the aim of The Big Jubilee Lunch is to encourage neighbourhoods to come together to share lunch and a few hours of community, friendship and fun. Last year, around two million people took part in the Big Lunch.