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Simon Hughes, Morris dancers and Rotherhithe locals pay tribute to Queen on her Platinum Jubilee

Rotherhithe residents celebrated the 70th anniversary of Elizabeth II becoming the Queen with a Platinum Jubilee ceremony led by Sir Simon Hughes.

The ceremony, organised by local community group the Southwark Park Association 1869 (SPA), took place at the Jubilee Stone by King’s Stairs Gardens on Sunday (February 6).

Sir Simon Hughes. Photo: Gary Magold

In a speech, Hughes, the SPA patron, paid tribute to the Queen’s service to the nation over her 70-year reign. He asked if there was anyone in attendance who was born in the 1920s – and a “Bermondsey born and bred” lady called Mary Hatch, born in 1928, came forward to lead the crowd in the three cheers for the Queen.

The former Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP bought some roses locally to commemorate the event. It was too windy on the day to attach them to the stone, so they were planted in a nearby flowerbed.

Hughes later told the News he thought the Queen was “a model of Christian service”. “She is steadfast, absolutely committed to serving people,” he said.

SPA member Amanda Squires told the crowd about the history of the site, including the nearby moated manor house of King Edward III, the unveiling of the Silver Jubilee stone by the Queen in 1977 and the commemoration of the Golden Jubilee by Prince Edward in 2002.

Photo: Gary Magold

Southwark-based female Morris dance troupe New Esperance Morris performed several dances beside the River Thames, accompanied by flute and drums, and the crowd sang the national anthem.

SPA secretary Pat Kingwell said that the group hoped that Southwark Council would provide a new inscription for the stone to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

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