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City shows apathy over royal wedding
OXFORD is set to be a right royal party pooper, with just a handful of neighbourhoods planning to hold parties to mark Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.
Oxford City Council said it had received only five applications for street parties and celebrations on Friday, April 29, compared to nine in Cherwell district, 13 in West Oxfordshire, 15 in the Vale of White Horse, and 27 in South Oxfordshire.
Five centuries after standing by Charles I as the royal capital during the Civil War, the city is set to hold fewer street parties than Henley, where eight road closures have been approved even though the town is less than a 10th the size of Oxford.
Richard Bradley, of Oxford Streets for People, said residents hoping to hold parties had found many of their neighbours did not care about the royal wedding.
He said: “It is not a good time in the Easter holiday for a street party because a few people are away, and the end of April is not always good for weather.
“But there is also certainly quite a big difference of opinion on whether people want to celebrate the royal wedding.
“I know of two or three areas that have thought about it, canvassed neighbours about having a party, and have found very mixed feelings about it.
“My guess is some people are not royalists, and some people are just not bothered about the wedding.”
Oxford Streets for People, which provides help and advice to communities wanting to hold street parties, is aware of just nine events being organised across the city.
In comparison, 54 street parties were organised last year as part of civic celebrations, with no royal links.
In Nunnery Close, Blackbird Leys, residents are holding a joint celebration to mark the royal wedding and the 50th anniversary of many of the close’s residents moving into their then newly-built homes.
Organiser Liz Brandon, 71, said she was “flabbergasted” so few street parties had been organised.
She said: “We have held parties for the Silver Jubilee, Charles and Diana’s wedding, VE Day, VJ Day and the Golden Jubilee.
“Years ago everyone held a street party. A few people have said it might be too cold in April, but we will celebrate any royal occasion.”
Republican former Lord Mayor of Oxford, John Tanner, said: “I think some people are excited, just as they get excited about soap operas, but for most people it is not important.
“It is a lot of froth and fuss about nothing, that costs taxpayers at a time when there is very little money around.”
- The royal wedding came a month early for St Michael’s School, Marston, as pupils worked with artists to put on their own street party. Daniel Upham, 10, said: “Each class has been making different stuff, from apapier maché wedding cake, to a wedding dress, and posters about the event. The party was really good with lots of food, and I’m looking forward to the royal wedding.”
Meanwhile an ex-servicemen's club has pulled itself back from the brink of closure and is planning a bash for the day of the royal wedding.
Wantage’s 93-year-old Comrades Club is planning a royal wedding celebration at the Manor Road Memorial Park to further raise its profile.
The April 29 event, from 10am to 10pm, will feature 12 live bands, fairground rides, Morris men, a bar, and community stalls.
The club, which has about 400 members, was set up in 1918 by soldiers returning from the First World War.