Yesterday was a day to remember – a slice of history spent with family, friends and neighbours.
Yes, the long-awaited and meticulously-planned Prospect Road Jubilee Street Party was upon us. A organising committee for this event had been formed two months ago with regular weekly meetings.
Prospect Road is approximately 150 metres long and permission had been approved by Kent County Council to get the middle section from Broomhill Park Road to Woolley Road closed off; roughly a third of the length of the entire road. This, in itself, was much anticipated. It’s a residential road and like most places with street parking has become more and more busy over the years. Not to mention its use as a rat run and a race track by some of the local boy racers. As the cars left the road in the morning to park elsewhere, out came John with his cones. By 12pm the road was clear, the ends got blocked off and a sense of freedom swept over everyone.
Games of kerby started, some kids chalked out hopskotch while others rode bikes and scooters up and down their new playground. Everyone felt at ease – it was a great feeling.
The party was due to start at 3pm and there was much to do. Firstly the bunting. Yes, the 220 metres of home-made bunting that had been worked on by no less than nine people. Criss-crossing the street, tied up to top floor windows and flapping in the breeze, it looked fantastic. It’s still up now, a day later and I’d love it to stay there.
Once Queen Jo, Kate, Wills and dog Lupo (aka Gibson) had arrived, the party got going. A mountain of food suddenly appeared, the beer in the barrels got poured, faces got painted, skittles got knocked down and tethered dogs looked on from the pavement.
Southbrough’s mayor, Jacqui Jedrzejewski stopped by with commemorative medals, flags and pens. A quiz was compiled comprising of questions about the the residents, the history of the local area, a bit about the Royals and a picture quiz. Live music came first from local lads Eden and Ollie with their band Big Fish Little Fish. Then Prospect Road’s finest alto sax player Michael played superbly while dog, Buzz, lorded it up in the chair next to him. Lastly came Matt Hovenden (singer/acoustic guitar), another Prospect Road resident.
We only had to dive under the erected marquees once as the rain came and only for a few minutes. The weather wasn’t kind for a June day, but at least we didn’t get the Jubilee Pageant weather from the day before. Which was all good because one of the highlights of the day was the Victoria Sponge competition. No fewer than 21 of them were entered by the residents and it was left to local Christ Church Rector and resident of Prospect Road, Reverend Gerald Hovenden to judge these fine cakes. He certainly took the task seriously, with eager bakers hoverering around him, sampling each and every cake. Best presentation went to Hazel and best for taste went to Danielle. According to my wife, she’s very lucky like that (school raffles etc), but is in no way jealous.
Talking about well-judged, as the day came to an end, so did the beer. The road closure terms stated that it needed to be open again for midnight. Like a well-oiled machine the tables down the middle of the road were collapsed, chairs stacked and marquees dismantled. The ‘hardcore’ remained for the wall party, finishing the no-label wine and booing at the cars that were now, once again, darkening the street. Probably wasn’t a good idea, Liz, to boo the police car, but I’m sure they saw the funny side of it.
It’s days like this that make me realise how lucky I am to live in such a great road with the neighbours I have. It’s a real little community, something that really means a lot to me and my family. I have a memory of 1977 when I was six being at my road’s Silver Jubilee street party with the tables down the middle of the road just like yesterday. Now hopefully, my kids will remember this day too.
Special thanks to the following people/clubs/organisations:
Ridgeway Football Club – for ice, tables, chairs and traffic cones
Southborough Scouts – tables and chairs
Tonbridge Juddians Rugby Football Club – supplying the beer
White marquee – Julia & Steve
Musicians – Big Fish Little Fish, Matt Hovenden and Michael at no49
South Downs Cellars – wine
The Riders Lounge – marquee and bar furniture
Southborough Town Council – financial donation, medals, flags and pens
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council – financial donation
MJ Wisdom – childrens games from the Rotary Club
Teresa Jenner – donating the wristbands
Mel – material for bunting
Kent County Council – allowing us to close the street
Also thanks to all those who helped make the bunting, in particular to Linda, Rita, Hazel, Lynne and Jenny
And a special thanks to main organiser Francesca who was instrumental in organising this fantastic, historic event.