Hastings gets merrie on day of royal wedding

Children enjoy the celebrations. Picture by Tony Coombes Photography
Children enjoy the celebrations. Picture by Tony Coombes Photography

STREET parties, battling Norman knights and patriotic pooches – Hastings had it all on the day of the royal wedding.

Thousands of people across 1066 Country – the furnace in which modern Britain was forged – downed tools for the day to join in the celebrations as Prince William married his sweetheart Kate Middleton.

Neighbours joined together to hold street parties, including bashes in Markwick Gardens, Bexleigh Avenue, Laton Road, St Dominics Close and Gillsmans Park.

And, according to organisers, everyone was in good spirits throughout the day.

Marie Phillips, who held a party in Park View, told the Observer: “Throughout the day cars were sounding their horns and waving.

“A passenger even got off a bus to join in the singing along with a lady playing her piano accordion.”

Once the televised ceremony was over, hundreds of locals celebrated in true Hastings style by dressing up and heading to the Old Town for the Merrie England Day.

The brainchild of Roger ‘Pirate Day’ Crouch, the town-wide event saw hogs roasted, children mingle with Henry VIII lookalikes and troubadours entertained the crowds.

There was also a fancy dress procession and regular staged swords fights, acted out by professional stunt men.

Mr Crouch said: “It was a brilliant day and a very Hastings way of marking the wedding.

“It was a lovely family friendly event and it was great to see so many people of different ages coming together to have fun.

“Some of the fancy dress costumes were brilliant and all the feedback I have had so far has been hugely positive.

“Thanks to everyone who came along and to John Hough and the High Street Traders who helped organise everything.”

And, despite having the day off, local schools were determined not to miss out. Among those celebrating the occasion a day early were youngsters at Torfield School, who enjoyed a street party and cakes decorated with union flags. Pupils also made their own wedding hats and each student was given a souvenir coin donated by the Friends of Torfield School.

Elsewhere Redlake School held a wedding party, as did Little Ridge, and youngsters at Hollington Primary took part in a royal wedding mug making competition - with the three winners.

Not everyone was able to relax and enjoy themselves though. Staff at Judges and Sampsons in St Leonards were working ten to the dozen to produce official mementos of the day and a host of bars opened early to show the ceremony on big screens.