Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Jubilee street party organiser in line for award

THE organiser of Goring’s diamond jubilee street party is in the running for a royal accolade.

THE organiser of Goring’s diamond jubilee street party is in the running for a royal accolade.

Ron Bridle is one of 35 people from across the UK who have been shortlisted for a Big Lunch Community Award.

If he reaches the top five, he will be presented with a trophy at Clarence House by the Duchess of Cornwall.

With help from more than 300 volunteers, including his wife Stephanie, Mr Bridle set out to hold Britain’s longest street party on June 3 last year.

More than 4,000 people braved heavy rain to attend the festivities, which linked Goring with neighbouring Streatley in a 1km line of 465 trestle tables.

The afternoon culminated in a mass toast to the Queen, accompanied by 60 peals of the church bells at St Thomas of Canterbury Church in Goring.

To be eligible for the award, organisers had to show their party had benefited the whole community.

Mr Bridle, of Cleeve Road, Goring, helped raise more than £60,000 in the preceding year to ensure the festivities were free of charge.

Residents held a series of sponsored events and produced a jubilee wine and beer, which were sold at pubs and shops in the village.

Mr Bridle asked Goring police community support officer Mark Bell to give invitations to local pensioners and arranged transport for them.

He said: “We wanted to include people who might not otherwise have come along because they don’t have a family or many friends.

“People living on their own wouldn’t necessarily visit a street party, so we made a concerted effort to reach out to them and make them feel welcome.

“It was also essential that the party was free; we didn’t want anybody to be left out.”

Mr Bridle helped to produce a 100-page hardback book of photographs from the celebrations and an 80-minute DVD, which have almost sold out. His committee still has about £10,000, which it plans to invest in a community scheme.

Mr Bridle said: “It’s hard to decide how the money should be spent. We’re lucky to have very good amenities, so there’s no obvious area of great need.

“However, we don’t want to give it out piecemeal to lots of small causes — we want to create one big project which will be of lasting benefit.”

The Big Lunch award winners will be announced by the end of the month.

Mr Bridle said: “We were delighted to be one of 35 on the shortlist. It’s great when you think there must have been thousands of street parties across the country.

“Our party left everyone with a lot of good memories and many new friendships were formed as people worked together to make it happen.

“The organisers were all united in a common cause and had a chance to meet people outside their usual social circle.

“It also brought people together from both sides of the river and I really hope those links will carry on.”

Only the Lancashire resort of Morecambe challenged Goring and Streatley’s claim to have held the longest jubilee street party. Thousands of people attended its celebrations which stretched a mile along the seafront.

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