WIGAN is preparing for a lavish open-air party to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Unsigned bands will take to a stage constructed in Market Place as part of a packed line-up of entertainment.
The musicians will be joined on the stage in front of a hoped-for audience of thousands by representatives from the town’s sports teams, community groups and local heroes.
There will also be a range of family-friendly events on the day, with young Wiganers getting involved in the celebrations and two Wigan-based entertainers adding their talents to the programme.
The event is being sponsored by local businessman Tony Callaghan, who runs a chain of pubs and bars across Wigan, who has donated a substantial amount to help make the event a success.
Mr Callaghan said: “It’s great to bring the music festival to the heart of town and have it part of such an iconic day. I am proud to be supporting local bands, the council and the town centre as part of our massive Jubilee Party.”
The Deputy Mayor will be presiding over the celebrations, as the Mayor will be leading the festivities in Leigh, where a programme of patriotic songs, dance and entertainment is being planned for a stage in front of the town hall.
An alcohol ban will be in place for the events, which will take place in a controlled and stewarded area, but there will be food and soft drinks available throughout the day.
In order to keep the patriotic mood up, the stage and town centre will also be decked out in Union Jack decorations, which will then remain in place for the D-Day commemorations later in June.
Coun Chris Ready, Wigan Council cabinet member responsible for leisure and culture, said: “We want everyone to enjoy the Jubilee, and our two events in Wigan and Leigh will cover a wide range of tastes and styles. Tony is the main sponsor and has come forward and said he wanted to help, which is great. Finances at the moment are a bit tight all over and money has to be spent wisely, so it’s very helpful to get extra funding.”
Meanwhile over in Tyldesley, preparations are being made for a Big Jubilee Lunch for residents.
Taking place at Shakerley Community Centre in Cumberland Avenue on Sunday June 3 from noon to 4pm, admission to the buffet is just £1 for adults £1; 50p for 11 to 16-year-olds while under-11s get in free. Local groups supporting the event will provide taster activities including amateur radio to indoor fireworks. There is also an outdoor dancing competition and the scouts’ trebuchets (giant catapults).
l For more on Diamond Fest see page 20