Bristol celebrates Queen's Diamond Jubilee

The Matthew leaving Bristol for the Jubilee Pageant in London The Matthew was moored on the Thames in an Avenue of Sail

Bristol's Millennium Square was the focus of the city's Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a Big Lunch and a big screen showing the events in London.

Two Bristol boats - the Matthew and the Pyronaut - were among the vessels taking part in the Jubilee Pageant.

Bristol's celebrations began on Saturday with a party at the M Shed museum.

Other Sunday celebrations included a picnic at Portishead Lake Grounds organised by churches in the town.

Jules Hyam, from BBC Points West, is on board The Matthew

From beneath a thousand umbrellas, the sounds of excited anticipation drifted across the water in a dozen different languages.

Securing the perfect riverside position meant getting up early, wrapping up warm and waiting...

On board The Matthew, there was just as much excitement but no-one was hanging around.

The galley, rich in aroma, was off limits to anyone not skilled in the art of cuisine.

The rigging, dressed in dozens of colours, was out of bounds to anyone not hoisting a flag.

The deck, swept clean, was free of rainwater.

Everything on board had to be as perfect as her pageant position, her presence in the Avenue of Sail requested by royal command.

Yards down river from Tower Bridge, this proud symbol of Bristol's maritime heritage was honoured with a mooring opposite the Royal Barge.

And those on board were honoured with a unique view of history.

Each of 1,000 vessels was greeted with cheers, waves and smiles.

The passengers on The Matthew beamed across the water toward the royal party.

For the first time in 350 years the Thames was transformed in celebration, and all of us on board this most historic of ships were changed a little bit too by an experience like no other.

In Millennium Square, children's workshops took place in partnership with interactive science centre At-Bristol with events such as designing a crown and building a boat.

There was also live music from Portishead Town Band and entertainment from walkabout act Balloonatic.

A big screen showed the Jubilee Pageant.

The Matthew, a 15th Century tall ship, was moored on the Thames in an Avenue of Sail for those vessels that were too large to go under the Thames bridges.

BBC Points West's Jules Hyam, who was on board the ship, said the vessel was "greeted with cheers, waves and smiles" by the crowds as it passed by.

The Pyronaut, which was one of 1,000 in the flotilla, is a firefighting boat that was used in the Blitz. It was built in Bristol in 1934.

Hundreds of people have also attended a special service of thanksgiving at Bath Abbey, featuring music from the 1953 Coronation Service.

And a full peal of bells started at 11:30 and will finish at 15:30 BST.

Royal memorabilia was on display at the Burlington Street Centre in Weston-super-Mare, and Keynsham High Street was taken over by a street party with seating for 400 people.

Parties also took place in Abbotswood Shopping Centre in Yate, Fishponds and Westbury on Trym.

But not everyone was enthusiastic about the Jubilee. In Stokes Croft, the community group People's Republic of Stokes Croft organised an evening of "lively Republican discourse".

See all the latest Diamond Jubilee news and features at

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