Pearly kings and queens in cockney singalong welcome to 2012 Olympics

London’s Pearly kings and queens are having a right ol’ cockney knees-up in the East End tonight to welcome tens-of-thousands of visitors from around the world to the Olympics cultural festival.

They are on stage at 6.15pm at the BT Live show in Victoria Park for a traditional London sing-along, including the ‘Lambeth Walk’, ‘Don’t Dilly Dally’ and of course ‘Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner’.

That’s followed by a nostalgic wartime medley and ending with a touch of patriotic rendering of Land of ‘Hope and Glory’.

The singalong follows their Olympics debut at Friday’s opening pageant when 40 Pearlies paraded round the stadium dressed in their suits adorned with thousands of pearl buttons.

Each Pearly king and queen, representing a different London district, is a fundraising figurehead for charity, keeping a cockney tradition going back to the 1860s when the costermongers and market traders helped the poor and those in need.

Tonight’s Vicky Park line-up arranged by the Pearly King of Mile End, John Scott, includes Pearlies from Tower Hamlets, Bow, Homerton, Hackney, Clapton, Stoke Newington, Islington, Highgate, Bermondsey & Camberwell and City of London.

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