POP star Joe McElderry enjoys a cuppa and cake in a Sunderland café in a bid to foster Wearside’s community spirit.
The X Factor winner popped into Serendipity, in Frederick Street, to find out how they’ll be marking The Big Jubilee Lunch, which encourages communities to get together to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.
South Shields-born Joe said: “It’s a chance to create a real buzz, a street party atmosphere. We seem to have lost that knowledge of who our neighbours are.
“You ask people who lives three doors away from them and they don’t even know. I’m always up for helping out with anything that’s to do with community spirit.
“Historic events are perfect for that. Ask people where they were for the Royal Wedding last year and they can tell you. The Queen’s Jubilee will be like that.”
Led by the Eden Project, The Big Jubilee Lunch takes place on Sunday, June 3.
Joe said: “The North East has really strong community values, everyone gets behind each other which is why I try to live here as much as possible.”
Speaking about why he got involved in the project, he said: “I do a lot of charity work outside the North East such as for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
“It’s great to be able to use my profile to help the community where I was bought up.
“My best friend is from Sunderland so I come here sometimes, but I haven’t had a night out here yet. I think that’s something I’ll have to arrange.”
As part of The Big Jubilee Lunch, Serendipity, a new city centre business, will be hosting a vintage tea party which harks back to 1950s-style afternoon teas.
Owner June Clark, who will host the event from noon to 5pm on June 5 instead of June 3, said: “Serendipity is all about creating an atmosphere where people can relax with their friends and family so this event ties in perfectly.
“We are going to be serving afternoon tea and we have themed bunting and knitted Jubilee tea cosies with great British food.”
l The Big Lunch is offering a free starter park for those wanting to hold a get-together, available at www.thebiglunch.com.