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Elvis impersonator and Babs Windsor join East End Big Lunch street parties

PUBLISHED: 20:17 03 June 2013 | UPDATED: 20:17 03 June 2013

Nathan Rae, 12, pulls his weight at Shadwell's Big Lunch tug-o'-war

Nathan Rae, 12, pulls his weight at Shadwell's Big Lunch tug-o'-war

Archant

Families in London’s East End had a cockney ‘knees up’ and right royal Big Lunch—after 60 years.

Babs Windsor with yougsters at Hackney Wick's Cre8 CentreBabs Windsor with yougsters at Hackney Wick's Cre8 Centre

The tenants on Shadwell’s Glamis estate were among communities across Britain yesterday celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen’s 1953 Coronation with street parties.

They laid on kids’ activities including tug-o’-war and sack races—just like the children had back in 1953—and live entertainment including an Elvis Presley impersonator, a Peruvian panpipe group and Bengali dancers, organised by tenant John Wright.

“So many families brought their own food and swapped with their neighbours,” he said. “It was the real neighbourly spirit of the Big Lunch.”

Even the estate landlords, East End Homes, got into the spirit, bringing tenants to the party from other estates and supplying the tea and soft drinks, as well as lifting their tough Sunday parking restrictions for the day—just like 1953!

How it all started... traditional post-war East End street party in the 1940s and 50sHow it all started... traditional post-war East End street party in the 1940s and 50s

Meanwhile, ‘Queen of Soaps’ Barbara Windsor from TV’s EastEnders (no relation to Elizabeth Windsor) popped down to the real East End to join one of the parties.

She arrived at the Cre8 community centre in Hackney Wick for their Big Lunch ‘do’ which included Olympic drummers, a theatre group performance and break dancers.

The Big Lunch now in its sixth year is run nationwide by the Eden Project to get people back into the community spirit of Britain’s wartime and post-war years, bringing neighbours together who may not have previously known each other.


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