The Heavens may have opened in much of Royal Tunbridge Wells borough over the weekend, but that didn’t stop the locals partying to celebrate The Queen’s official 90th birthday.
Like those in London who endured a drenching in The Mall, Her Majesty’s fans in and around our town were made of hardy stuff, and quickly innovated to keep the long-planned revelries going.
Some events were moved indoors, including spontaneous clearing of all the seats at St Peter’s Upper Church, Pembury.
“It was brilliant; we don’t have pews any more, just chairs so it was easy to organise. The church was full of tea and cakes on one side and traditional games like fishing for ducks, bagatelle and shove ha’penny on the other, and we had the Pembury U3A ukelele band,” beamed the Rev Douglas Robertson.
“We were so pleased to have a government minister and MP there, too. Greg Clark delivered the reading at our Sunday morning service, and came back again later for the vintage tea party.”
Greg Clark said: “It was delightful to join the village of Pembury to celebrate The Queen’s birthday in style. The organisers deserve thanks.”
The Royal Picnic planned for The Grove took refuge at Christ Church in the High Street.
Elsewhere, marquees and gazebos seemed to appear from nowhere to shelter the street party venues and partygoers from the rain.
“Everyone seems to have one these days,” said organiser John Lines of Silverdale Road.
“People just rallied round, found them and contributed them so we could carry on despite the rain,” said Ann Hughes-Wilson of Mereworth Road.
And the Inner London Road Residents’ Association opened up a shed to act as a bar and haven from the rain.
But the sun shone on Groombridge & Withyham’s Now We Are 90 celebration on Saturday. They welcomed a very game MP – Wealden’s Nusrat Ghani, who donned a Union Jack hat, joined in a tug of war.
“Leading the adults against the kids in the tug of war was undoubtedly the toughest political contest I have ever been in, and it was a great way to round off a fun-filled and community-spirited day.”
She also Tweeted about the fun of the event. And the story was the same throughout the borough as locals came out to party for The Queen.