Lily Swann and friends enjoying the Coronation Big Lunch in Glynn

Communities Thanked for Coming Together for Coronation Big Lunch

Thousands of people from across Northern Ireland have enjoyed a Coronation Big Lunch, celebrating neighbourhood and marking the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

Thousands of people from across Northern Ireland have enjoyed a Coronation Big Lunch, celebrating neighbourhood and marking the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

From Belfast to Bushmills, Carnmoney to Enniskillen, and Millisle to Drumbo, it was an opportunity for people to join together, sharing food, friendship and fun.

The Coronation Big Lunch, an idea by Eden Project and made possible by National Lottery, was also a chance to be part of history, boosting community spirit, helping to reduce loneliness and supporting charities and good causes.

The party started at Harpur’s Hill Primary School in Coleraine on Friday and David Radcliffe, Principal, said: "We had a fantastic Coronation Big Lunch with over 50 grandparents and senior citizens from our local community. I want to say a huge thanks to our cook Hazel Millar and all the staff in the kitchen who made such a delicious feast. The children also enjoyed the petting farm and bouncy castles followed by a well deserved ice-cream."

On Saturday, the celebrations continued the length and breadth of Northern Ireland. At Neillsbrook Fold in Randalstown, resident May Hanna, who moved in last September, said: I’m really enjoying getting to know my neighbours. It took me a while to get to know everybody’s names but there’s lots of opportunities to meet people here thanks to the parties organised by Marie. I love living at Neillsbrook Fold.”

Debbie Shaw, who is registered blind, and her dog Frizz, are moving in this Friday. Debbie said: “What a great welcome I’m getting. It’s a good opportunity to get to know my neighbours. Some I already knew from the Randalstown area and there are a lot of lovely people here. I actually use South Antrim community transport quite a lot and I hear that they may be losing their funding. I really hope not because it’s a vital service for me to keep me up and about and mobile. I’m really looking forward to living here in Neillsbrook Fold.”

Over 2,000 people of all cultures and backgrounds attended a Coronation Big Lunch in Clogher Valley. WDM Annahoe District No 6 Jim Patton said: "We want to thank everyone that attended the Clogher Valley Coronation celebrations.  A fabulous day was had by all with a splendid display of local bands and culture. I want to thank all the volunteers who gave up their time in planning and running the event for the benefit of the local community."

On Sunday, the people of Glynn came together and last year Lilly Swann wrote to Eden Project Communities asking for funding for a party and this year, she joined in to celebrate the Coronation. Liz Swann from Glynn said: “It was great to bring everyone together for the Coronation Big Lunch and to see so many people happy and celebrating such a joyous occasion.”

At Rainbow Alley in East Belfast, organiser Joann Boal said: "We had a wonderful Coronation Big Lunch at Rainbow Alley. From Coronation quiche, to my Coronation chicken pie, delicious Indian delicacies and a commemorative cake celebrating the countries of the Commonwealth, our friends and neighbours really came together in the spirit of community to enjoy lunch and make a lifetime of memories."

In Dundonald, Enid Davidson, who has lived in Ardcarn for 70 years, had the honour of cutting the Coronation Big Lunch cake. She said: “I’m one of the longest residents of Ardcarn as I grew up here and this Coronation Big Lunch celebration is just fantastic for everyone. It’s great to see the sun shining.”

At Moat Manor, Sylvia Lamont said: "We have had a fantastic weekend of celebration and our Coronation Big Lunch was the icing on the cake for the residents of Moat Manor."

On Monday, Carnmoney Village celebrated with a Coronation Big Lunch for 1,000 people. Thelma Jamison, Chairperson of Carnmoney Village Community Group, said: “We had a Jubilee Big Lunch last year for and because it was such a success the committee decided to work hard to organise a Coronation Big Lunch. This is our second Royal celebration and today’s event has exceeded all our expectations. It has been a wonderful day with the added bonus of sunshine.”

Grainne McCloskey, Scotland and Northern Ireland Regional Manager at Eden Project Communities, said: “We want to thank everyone who got involved; those who organised an event and those who came along. Community spirit is at the heart of the Big Lunch and it was incredible to see so many people celebrate together while marking the Coronation. We hope organisers will now go on to make The Big Lunch an annual celebration of friendship, togetherness and neighbourhood.”

Established in 2009, The Big Lunch takes place annually and encourages neighbours and communities to share food as a huge act of community spirit. This year people can also celebrate with a Big Lunch throughout Month of Community in June. Queen Camilla has been Patron of The Big Lunch initiative since 2013.


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