Gallery: St Neots joins in Diamond Jubilee party spirit

ON the most British of weekends – right down to the weather – the people of St Neots turned out in their thousands to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Braving the elements, and complete with wellies, macs and Union Jacks, revellers enjoyed events scattered all over the town.

St Neots radio station, Black Cat Radio, brought a generous helping of sunshine to an otherwise cloudy day as they broadcast live from the Priory Centre and compered the festival stage in Regatta Meadow.

Festivities kicked-off with the Big Lunch held in Market Square with over 600 children descending on the town.

Puppet shows and face painting were the order of the afternoon along with a specially prepared picnic lunch provided by Platters of St Neots.

The noise reached fever pitch during the duck race, which saw channel-swimmer Bryn Dymott fire the starting pistol and launch 1200 ducks off the Town Bridge.

St Neots Fire Station provided a hose which formed the finish line, just past the rowing club, and the winner received a �750 diamond donated by Goldstraws jewellers.

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Back in Regatta Meadow, the CAMRA beer tent was kept busy until well into the evening, and St Neots rock bands including The Simpletone and Nine Mile Ride made sure the crowd rocked-out until late.

Driving rain on Sunday did nothing to dampen the competitive spirit of hardy pub staff, as both the Pig ‘n Falcon and The Priory fielded teams for the barrel race in the Market Square.

Mimicking the town’s celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1897, both teams rolled barrels around the square with the Pig ‘n Falcon narrowly clinching it.

And the biggest party in Huntingdonshire wasn’t just confined to St Neots folk. Party-goers from Huntingdon, St Ives, Bedford, West Lothian in Scotland and even Los Angeles joined in the fun in what was the town’s biggest ever event.

Mayor Barry Chapman told The Hunts Post: “This was an absolutely fantastic event which saw the whole town come together, despite the weather.

“There was a wonderful spirit throughout the whole weekend and a real buzz of excitement among both children and adults.

“Lots of people made use of the new decking area at the Priory Centre which sits by the river – there must have been a good 4,000 people here on Saturday.

“The air display was superb and the procession of 40 boats along the river on Sunday – despite the weather – looked fantastic.

“We’d like to thank Black Cat Radio who were brilliant throughout the whole weekend, and everyone who supported us, including Barretts, who provided amazing goody bags for the children’s Big Lunch, and the Pig ‘n’ Falcon and The Priory pubs.”

Councillor Chapman said he would not rule out a similar event next year.

“The people of St Neots deserve an annual celebration, and that’s what we will look to do.”