Diamond Jubilee: 'There was Blitz spirit, we were laughing in the face of adversity'
"What do you expect? It's typical British weather. I think God forgot to put his 50p in the meter and it's run out," laughed Rashid Karolia.
The social worker was among just a dozen or so patriotic locals who braved bitingly cold winds and driving rain to mark the Queen's special day in Bradford's Centenary Square yesterday.
Organisers had hoped 2,000 people would turn up to share a picnic, bringing together the city's different ethnic communities.
But old-fashioned Pennine precipitation did for that plan – forcing the handful of Bradfordians who did turn up to make the best of the bad weather.
As a 1990s cover band injected what optimism they could into proceedings, Sobia Bi, the mother of two children, was beating a retreat with her sister Maryyam and a shivering gaggle of children kitted out in Union Flag face paint and red, white and blue balloon hats. They shared a hasty lunch of samosas, crisps and chocolate, sheltering under umbrellas before making an early dash home.
"We were really excited about it and the kids really loved it. It was a really good day but my hands are frozen," she said.
Bradford has a long-standing affection for the monarchy and 29 street parties were planned across the city. When the Queen paid her first visit here early in her reign in 1954, bunting was hung from the soot-blackened buildings and 30,000 schoolchildren greeted her at the cricket ground at Bradford Park Avenue. While those scenes were always unlikely to be repeated yesterday, better conditions would certainly have seen a healthier turnout.
"I feel really sad. It could have been a really good day if the weather held on. A lot of people would have been down here," said Angus Livingstone, a civil servant.
Neil Collins, who was dressed as a pearly king, did his very best to cheer the small crowd along with a small cast of stilt-wearing street performers. "If you wanted to be all patriotic you could say there was some Blitz spirit, that we are laughing through adversity," he said. "To be honest, with weather like this those people that stay around are quite easy to entertain. You have to laugh or you go away feeling miserable."
Mr Karolia and his brothers decided to brave out the rain to watch the flotilla on the big screen. "The Queen is lovely," he said. "I am a true Bradfordian and a true Yorkshireman," he added. "For us this is an opportunity to support our city. This is my Bradford and I love it," he said.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Comfortable in their own skin
- 3 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
Israel-Gaza conflict: Death toll tops 125 after overnight raids as Operation Protective Edge continues
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators take to streets of London, Paris and New York in wave of protests
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...