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Chislehurst raised the roof

PUBLISHED: 18:22 07 June 2012

John Kelly at Chislehurst picnic, pic by Andy Barnes

John Kelly at Chislehurst picnic, pic by Andy Barnes

Archant

More than 1,400 people bought tickets for the picnic on Chislehurst Common.

The event is part of the Big Lunch, where people up and down the country get together to break bread with their neighbours – and strangers.

It was organised by volunteers from St Nicholas Church and saw trestle tables spread across the common on Saturday.

The Reverend Alan Mustoe said: “The Jubilee is a historic occasion and we wanted to bring people together to celebrate it in a memorable way.”

In 1886 the church celebrated the golden jubilees of then vicar Canon Murray and Queen Victoria with a celebration on the common for 1,800.

This year volunteers had originally planned for just 300 but demand was so great for the communal gathering that they sold more than 1,400 tickets.

Guests brought picnics and enjoyed the entertainment, which included country dancing, arts and crafts and the children posed with pictures of a cut-out of the Queen.

“We had people coming from as far afield as Dublin. Even on the day itself there was still a huge waiting list for tickets,” said Katrina Pauling, one of the St Nicholas volunteers.

Rev Mustoe, Rector of St Nicholas, opened the event by reminding guests of Chislehurst’s long history of marking national events on the Common.

He made reference to one of his predecessors, the Reverend Francis Wollaston, who invited the people of St Nicholas Parish to tea on the Common to mark the defeat of Napoleon at Trafalgar.

Donna Bompas, who came up with the original idea and led the team of volunteer organisers, said: “We never envisaged that the demand for tickets would be so great but it was obvious that everyone had a great time on the day.

“There was a real buzz about the event and a sense of being part of something special. It says a lot about the people of Chislehurst who so willingly gave their time to help pull off an event of this scale,” she said.

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