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Dickens' Festival in Rochester sees hundreds descend for Platinum Jubilee parade


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Scores of people dressed as Dickensian characters paraded through the centre of a Kent town as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Drawing on Rochester's historic connections with the Victorian author, more than 200 enthusiasts took part in the parade to pay homage to his work.

The City of Rochester pipe band lead the parade. Picture: Barry Goodwin
The City of Rochester pipe band lead the parade. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Hundreds were seen in Rochester this afternoon taking part in the Charles Dickens parade. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Hundreds were seen in Rochester this afternoon taking part in the Charles Dickens parade. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Crowds watched as men, women and children filed through the High Street to Rochester Castle, where live music, a picnic and Dickens-themed activities awaited.

It was the perfect way to mark the Queen's 70 years of service for local Jane Matthews.

"At the drop of a hat, we dress up," she told the Press Association.

Fourteen-month-old Lilah Barford was one of the youngest people to take part in the Dickens Festival parade. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Fourteen-month-old Lilah Barford was one of the youngest people to take part in the Dickens Festival parade. Picture: Barry Goodwin
It's day one of the festival. Picture: Barry Goodwin
It's day one of the festival. Picture: Barry Goodwin

"This was the obvious way for us to celebrate the Jubilee."

The parade – which takes place at festivals every June and December – this afternoon was one of two planned for this weekend, with the next one set to take place at 1pm tomorrow.

They form part of a two-day literary festival honouring the books of Charles Dickens.

A second Dickens-themed parade will take place tomorrow. Picture: Barry Goodwin
A second Dickens-themed parade will take place tomorrow. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Scores of people in fancy dress took part in the parade through Rochester High Street. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Scores of people in fancy dress took part in the parade through Rochester High Street. Picture: Barry Goodwin
The parade is back again tomorrow. Picture: Barry Goodwin
The parade is back again tomorrow. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Waves for the crowds. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Waves for the crowds. Picture: Barry Goodwin
A beaming smile from one of the participants. Picture: Barry Goodwin
A beaming smile from one of the participants. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Today was day one of two. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Today was day one of two. Picture: Barry Goodwin
There were some lovely costumes. Picture: Barry Goodwin
There were some lovely costumes. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Great Kentspectations at the Dickens Festival. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Great Kentspectations at the Dickens Festival. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Hundreds took part. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Hundreds took part. Picture: Barry Goodwin

However, today's turnout was said to have been affected by the poor weather.

Regular attendee Sue Smyth said: “Every summer and winter we do the Dickens and this is just how it’s fallen but the atmosphere is lovely. Everyone’s happy.

“It’s just a celebration, and because it’s the Jubilee we’ve had a double celebration.”

Dickens moved to Medway as a child, after his father, John, started work at Chatham Dockyard in 1817.

A number of buildings in the centre of Rochester carry plaques explaining how the author drew inspiration from them when writing his novels.

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