THERE might still be a year to go before the Big Jubilee Lunch in honour of the Queen’s 70 years on the throne but some St Helens residents were practising last weekend for the royal celebrations.

St Michael and All Angels Church on Gartons Lane in Clock Face hosted the Big Lunch for three church congregations and visitors to the community cafe on Sunday afternoon.

Bunting and baking was out in force as people made the most of the warm weather ahead of the Queen’s platinum celebrations next summer.

This year, the month of June is dedicated to the Big Lunch with thousands of mini warm up events taking place across the UK, allowing people to give thanks for the help and support they have received during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Peter Stewart, executive director of the Eden Project and founder of the Big Lunch, said: “For many of us, the pandemic has brought neighbours and communities closer together, so this year, The Big Lunch – the UK’s annual celebration for neighbourhoods and communities - is spreading out over a whole month of June for the first time in its 13-year history.

“The Month of Community (June) culminates on Thank You Day on July 4 when individuals, groups and other organisations will be urging us all to pause to say thank you to each other.”

Sam Rigby, pastoral assistant and St Helens Big Lunch organiser, said: “We had our Big Lunch on Sunday at St Michael and All Angels Church.

“We normally have a community cafe on Sunday afternoons on our church lawn, running alongside the Sutton Community Food Project’s weekly foodbank pantry session.

“So, we thought we’d go the extra mile on Sunday by throwing a Big Lunch, providing more than our usual offering of bacon or sausage sandwiches.

“We had entertainment, a quiz, some garden games and also a spot of bingo.”

She added: “It went really well and we met lots of new people from the local community.

“The quiz was great fun and the children loved playing with some of the toys we put outside.”