A group of more than 50 housing association tenants had a right royal time to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Smiles were wide and voices were loud as they partied at Trinity Community Centre in Llandudno at the first such social event Cartrefi Conwy had been able to host for its community there since the Covid-19 restrictions eased.
As well as the array of home-made food, bunting, fancy hats and decorated tables the party goers enjoyed bingo games, a raffle and music from the Colwyn Bay Ukulele Group.
The musicians encouraged everyone to singalong as they played a selection of well-known songs from each decade of the Queen’s reign including Bring Me Sunshine, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, Delilah, Daisy Daisy, Oom Pah Pah, and the Okey Cokey.
Several people got up and danced to the happy tunes. They included Nicola Moate who was at the party with her husband of 34 years, Barry.
Proudly waving a flag and donning a fun Union Jack bowler hat, Nicola said: “I remember we were all given commemorative mugs at school as souvenirs of the occasion. It seemed like a long time then that the Queen was on the throne. It’s amazing to think she has more than doubled that now.”
Cartrefi Conwy Older Person’s Engagement Co-ordinator Nerys Veldhuizen said: “This really is just what we all needed. It has been an incredibly tough few years for everyone here, particularly the older most vulnerable members of our community.
“This party marks a sense of relief that we have hopefully come through the worst of the pandemic. It’s a wonderful coming together of old friends and familiar faces, many of whom haven’t seen each other for months.”
It was the first of a series of seven parties Cartrefi Conwy has organised for its tenants across the county during the national Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Among the highlights was the presentation of a golden envelope containing gift vouchers to popular Llandudno personality Sheila Campbell, who was one of the energetic task-force which helped make the party happen.
Presenting the envelope Nerys described Sheila as a community champion who always goes the extra mile to help neighbours.
She said: “Everyone here knows Sheila and agrees that she is one in a million. She is our very own queen of the party and all her catering team have been angels for the way they have helped us bring this event to fruition.”
Accepting her gift, a modest Sheila said she and her husband of 45 years, Wally Campbell, were only repaying the community they love for help they received during the height of the pandemic.
Sheila said: “Wally and I both contracted Covid. We felt so very ill but the support we received from our dear friends and neighbours was amazing.
“The phone was constantly ringing with offers of help and people sent us scores of messages of support.
“Hot food would be left on our doorstep, neighbours did shopping for us. They couldn’t do enough.
“We felt blessed to live in a community like this and that is why we like to do our bit now – to repay all who stood by us and made us feel so cared for.”
Sheila is a community stalwart who runs the local Well Women group and also leads a gardening club.
She paid tribute to the entire Well Women team who put in many hours preparing food for the Trinity Community Centre jubilee party.
She said they baked cakes and prepared cream scones, adding: “They worked like Trojans all the previous day and on the morning of the party.”
The team included head washer-up Janey Mitton who took on the mammoth task of washing all the dishes while Vera Evans and Irene Tudor slaved at the oven baking cakes.
Sheila was also over the moon to see an old friend, Charmaine Scott, from the Well Woman group who she had not been able to catch up with in person for two years.
Giving her pal a big hug, Charmaine said: “It is so great to see Sheila here and watching her being presented with a community champion award was just the best. She absolutely deserves it. As Nerys said, she is a real queen of our community. And the Well Women members all go out of their way to help the community around them.”
Everyone at the party was thrilled to be together marking 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.
But perhaps none more so than a table of pensioners who all remembered the Queen’s coronation on June 2, 1953.
Most of them were primary school age when the glittering ceremony took place and they never imagined Queen Elizabeth would still be on the throne seven decades later.
They included Janette Smith who was just seven years old during the summer of the Coronation, while friend Kathleen Birtles was five.
Janette said: “It was so many years ago but I still have quite vivid memories of the street parties held then. She has been a wonderful Queen who has done so much for our country. She more than deserves to be honoured with a week of celebrations like this as we all say a huge thank you to her.”
Also enjoying a delicious feast of sandwiches served on Union Jack designed paper plates, followed by cream scones, bara brith and fairy cakes were friends Janet Allen, Rose Haycock, Joyce Herbert, and Anita Ellison.
Anita, 77, said the catering team had done a marvellous job.
She said: “They have put so much work in, they all deserve medals!”
Over on another table volunteer worker Michelle Jewell said the afternoon tea party was on a par with one which she attended at Buckingham Palace a few years ago.
Michelle was honoured to be among a group of British Red Cross volunteers invited to the palace to help celebrate the work of the charity of which the Queen has been patron for more than 65 years.
Showing photographs of the event to Margaret Jones Garroch and Maureen Heckle, Michelle said: “It was such a beautiful occasion. Prince Charles was there too and we enjoyed a truly memorable day with tea in the conservatory. But it is also nice to be here with friends at Trinity Community Centre, this time paying tribute to the Queen, just like she paid tribute to us.”