It was Christine Franklin’s children who encouraged her to organise a Big Lunch after hearing the fond memories of her street party for The Queen’s Silver Jubilee. After a larger than expected turn out of neighbours, friends and family, she is looking forward to planning their Big Lunch 2013.
“I had left the decision to put on a Big Lunch to the extreme last minute. Discussing my wonderful memories of 1977 and how my whole street spent some glorious evenings licking paper chains together and planning our red, white and blue outfits, a flood of warmth hit me squarely in the chest. My five children picked up on this as I told them the tales of that special street party and they were adamant that we must repeat my childhood experience. I wrote to my ten neighbours in Paignton, Devon, explaining that we would love to organise a Big Lunch and would they be interested in joining us?
Our proposal was met with excitement by not only our neighbours but their families! I quickly emailed the council highways team to have our cul-de-sac closed and then sat down to work out a plan of who should bring what food and utensils to the event. On the day my husband and I started to put some trestle tables up which we had borrowed from the local nursery. Suddenly out came our neighbours, armed with bunting and asked if they could put it up between our homes – excellent! The lovely highways chap turned up and popped up our road closed signs. He asked to take some photographs explaining that it was lovely to see a small community coming together and congratulated us for having a go.
Everyone began to talk and introduce themselves. A young family who lived on the corner of the street next door asked if they could join us: ‘Of course, bring a plate of cheese and join in!’ They wanted to create memories for their children. I had put together some music from the 70’s which I felt would evoke memories for the adults who might remember the Silver Jubilee party. ‘Can we do this every year?’ asked one of my neighbours – I would love to, so here’s to 2013 and this time I am going to start my enquiries sooner!
Thanks to our The Big Lunch we opened up a community that rarely spoke, we not only gave Christmas cards this year but I found a big box of chocolates on my door step this year from one of my neighbours as a thank you!”