Diamond Jubilee: 'There was Blitz spirit, we were laughing in the face of adversity'

 

Bradford

"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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project