Jubilee party wins £2,000+ grant

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IN 1897, Innerleithen’s Victoria Park was opened to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

And 115 years on, the town is to receive a grant of £2,180 to support a community celebration in the park for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

The organising committee secured the grant from Scottish Borders Council’s fund for events marking 60 years of Her Majesty’s reign.

Committee chair Keith Belleville said: “We invited local groups, businesses and individuals to an open meeting last month and set the ball rolling with ambitious plans for a Family Fun Day on Sunday, June 3 in Victoria Park and we got a brilliant response from the community.

“The award of the funding means we can now press ahead.”

In 1897, at the opening of the park, a cricket match was played and it will be recreated in 2012 by organiser and cricket enthusiast Tom Harrison, with six teams of five players – including one from a local cricket club – entering from across the town.

“In this Olympic year, we wanted to make sport an important part of this event,” Mr Belleville said.

“We also plan to have a range of other sports on offer to children and young people attending the event and these will hopefully go towards the Olympic Passport being organised by the Borders Sport and Leisure Trust. There’s even going to be a junior tug-of-war.”

He added: “Something else that struck us when we were researching the last Diamond Jubilee was that the press reports heaped praise on the townsfolk and shopkeepers who went to great lengths to decorate the town with flowers and bunting.

“We hope that this is something else that we can recreate to show Innerleithen at its very best.”

The event will run from 1pm to 5pm and there will be food and drink, entertainment, market stalls, sports, games and attractions for all the family. Music will be provided by both town bands, with other local groups to be confirmed.

At the centre of the celebrations is a Royal Tea in the Park when the town’s senior citizens will be invited to come for a special afternoon tea. Tickets for the tea will be available soon from the Post Office and are free. There will also be an option to ask for help in getting to and from the park.

The local Girl Guide Association will serve the teas and anyone willing to help prepare items is asked to get in touch with Lesley Foster by email robert.foster55@btinternet.com or phone 01896 830792.

Victoria Park has Queen Elizabeth Fields status, meaning that it is now safeguarded as a public open space. A special tree will be planted on the day to mark the occasion.

Anyone still wanting to get involved can contact Mr Belleville on 01896 830349 or go to the next meeting, on Tuesday at Victoria Park.