There are now under two weeks to go until the Coronation of King Charles III, as Britain prepares to crown a new monarch.
Yet there are doubts about the country’s enthusiasm. Reports have raised concerns about participation in the Coronation’s “Big Help Out” volunteering scheme, while a poll released today suggests there is less support for the monarchy with young people.
Despite that, organisers of events in Sheffield are insisting that the Coronation, set for 6 May, is an opportunity for people to get together, celebrate, and support the local economy.
“A patriotic atmosphere”
Sheffield City Council have made detailed plans for the Coronation last week, which were revealed last month.
In a press release, Leader of the Council Cllr Terry Fox (Labour) said: “For many, this will be a once in a lifetime occurrence, so we want to put on a big show.
“I always love to see crowds gathering, celebrating together and having fun, and this is exactly what this weekend will be about.
“Live bands will be playing, there’ll be entertainment, bars and restaurants will be involved and there will be such a patriotic atmosphere, I can’t wait.”
The council’s plans are focused on the Peace Gardens, which on Saturday 6 May will host ‘The Lord Mayor’s Coronation Party’.
Visitors will be able to watch the coronation live on a big screen, while there will also be room for picnics and a live brass band.
Along with its own events, the council has also allocated £5,000 to each of Sheffield’s Local Area Committees to support community celebrations.
“Feel good factor”
Local businesses are hopeful that the Coronation will bring in some much-needed footfall, especially in the city centre.
Sheffield BID, a group which aims to boost investment in the city centre, said they are putting together a “coronation guide” to let people know what is going on over the bank holiday inside the ring road.
Richard Pilgrim, Project Manager at Sheffield BID, said: “Major events such as the Coronation … provide a great opportunity for city centre businesses to benefit from the ‘feel good’ factor that will no doubt sweep the country in the days leading up to the weekend itself.
“And, if the weather can play its part, we’re confident that there’s no better place to celebrate the long coronation weekend than the city centre.”
Aside from city centre shops, another business celebrating the Coronation is Winthrop Gardens in Wickersley, near Rotherham.
Having put on events last year to mark the Platinum Jubilee and then later the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the community garden is putting on several events this May.
Anna Chester, of Winthrop Gardens, said: “Our annual Open Day and Bake Off will have a coronation theme, as will all our activities over the next two weeks.”
Ms. Chester said the gardens will host an afternoon tea on 3 May and then a Coronation street party on 5 May.
She said: “Then all our wonderful team can put their feet up for a couple of days and watch the coverage on the TV, or not!”
Raising a glass
Sheffield’s pubs are also marking the Coronation. Many, such as The Shoulder of Mutton in Worrall, have announced Coronation parties over the weekend.
National chains in the city have also announced plans, such as JD Wetherspoon.
Eddie Gershon, a media spokesman for Wetherspoons, said its pubs across the country will be offering a special Yorkshire-brewed ale to celebrate.
He said: “Theakston Crowning Glory is being produced for the occasion by Theakston Brewery, based at Masham in North Yorkshire.
“Join the nation in toasting King Charles III, during the coronation weekend, at your local Wetherspoon pub.”
The council has encouraged these events in Sheffield. Cllr Fox said: “We will be supporting communities to celebrate all … of these events.”
Worrall Community Association is one of the groups taking part in The Big Lunch. Their celebrations on 7 May are family-friendly, including activities for children.
Judith Cowley, one of the organisers of the events in Worrall, said: “We are encouraging all to bring a picnic and enjoy the day.
“The aim of our Coronation event is a family and community get together to celebrate.”
So, for all the doubts about the Coronation, organisers in Sheffield see the bank holiday as a chance to bring some joy and support to the local community.