Diamond Jubilee 2012: Picknicking masses go al-fresco in heart of London

THOUSANDS of people gathered in St James’s Park in the heart of London for a picnic of their own.

Rugs, chairs, tents, sunshades and even the odd gazebo were set up on the lawns as flag-clad revellers tucked into al-fresco feasts and quaffed Pimm’s and champagne.

A big screen was in place to beam tonight’s concert performances out to the picnicking masses. And while there was the odd spot of rain, the sun was doing its best to break through.

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Annette and Barry Dalton and their friends John and Marie Kay made the journey from Middlesbrough for the Jubilee weekend.

“We celebrated the silver and golden jubilees at home with street parties, but there were none organised this time so we decided to come down,” Mrs Kay said.

“They do parties like this in the parks in Middlesbrough each summer. We have come prepared.”

Sisters Liz Fielden, 62, and Hilary Wyatt, 64, were similarly well prepared, hoping for sunshine and warmth but coming equipped with thermals and waterproofs as well as sandwiches and a rug.

They were planning to party until midnight in the park, they said.

“It’s been wonderful,” said Ms Wyatt, who lives in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset and came down with her sibling for the weekend. “We are just hoping it doesn’t rain.”