SCHOOLCHILDREN joined the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear to help launch the Diamond Jubilee celebrations on Wearside.
Pupils at Southwick Community Primary School invited Her Majesty’s local representative to a special street party, in the run-up the anniversary of her accession to the throne on Monday.
A national holiday to mark the coronation on June 2, 1953, has also been announced from June 2 to 5 this year.
As part of a summer of country-wide celebrations, which will mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year reign, a service will be held at Sunderland Minster on June 23.
Lord Lieutenant Nigel Sherlock – appointed by The Queen to work with voluntary services, benevolent organisations and local businesses – hopes as many people as possible across the city will arrange public parties, displays and exhibitions.
“Flags, bunting and balloons were the order of the day at the school and the children were really excited by the party,” he said.
“We all had a fantastic time. The school has been incredibly enthusiastic.
“They’ve even found photos of royal celebrations they’ve been involved in going all the way back to the 1930s, which they displayed on the day. I know many other schools and communities will be looking at their own ways of celebrating the Jubilee.
“Her Majesty is one of our most loved and most admired monarchs, and lots of people will have very fond memories of her many visits to Tyne and Wear.”
To help spread the word about community events, website www.diamondjubileetyneandwear.com has been launched.
As well as providing information about the Diamond Jubilee, it gives helpful hints and tips on organising street parties.
Mr Sherlock said: “We want as many people as possible to get involved in the excitement of The Queen’s Jubilee year.
“We know each local authority in Tyne and Wear will be organising events, but we want everyone to think about what they might do to join in, whether it’s a mums and toddlers group organising a coffee morning, Scout and Guides planting a commemorative tree, or neighbours planning their own street party.
“We want everyone to help celebrate.”
Trish Stoker, headteacher of Southwick Community Primary School, said: “For the school, it’s a wonderful opportunity for all of us to come together to celebrate something that’s a once-in-a-lifetime.”