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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before