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Dickens Festival in Rochester will also mark Queen's Platinum Jubilee

An annual event celebrating the life and work of Charles Dickens will be given a twist this year.

Medway Council is looking at ways of encouraging people to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

Parade through Rochester for the Dickens Festival in 2019
Parade through Rochester for the Dickens Festival in 2019

Events could include a river parade, a big-screen broadcast of the national celebrations in London and beacon lighting.

The authority's deputy leader, Cllr Howard Doe (Con), spoke about the plans on Thursday.

He was answering a question on how the annual Dickens Festival will be affected by the altered Bank Holiday.

As well as the Dickensian Christmas event, which takes place every December, the festival takes place in the summer.

The May Bank Holiday will be moved to Thursday, June 2, and an additional Bank Holiday will be on Friday, June 3.

Parade through Rochester in 2019
Parade through Rochester in 2019

The discussion of Towns-based events took place during a meeting of the regeneration, culture and environment overview and scrutiny committee.

Cllr Doe – portfolio holder for housing and community services – added greater details over funding for events will emerge following the confirmation of next month's budget.

He says the Dickens' Festival is due to take place over the Bank Holiday weekend on June 4 and 5.

He said: "We'll give it a Jubilee twist, if I might put it that way. We will see going through June that we will have quite a few events.

"Obviously it depends on what our budget allocation eventually is. We will also be doing other things, for example, one of the things I'm very keen on is that we ought to name a park properly for that Jubilee.

Her Majesty the Queen marks her Platinum Jubilee. Picture by Geoff Robinson Photography
Her Majesty the Queen marks her Platinum Jubilee. Picture by Geoff Robinson Photography

"My personal opinion is that park ought to be the Cockham park. Obviously, we won't just say that's what's going to happen, we will consult with the public."

In July, the council granted permission to itself to create a new park between Chattenden and Hoo as part of the environmental improvements proposed within the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) project focussing on the peninsula.

The park is currently due to be called Cockham Community Parkland and will be the size of 96 football pitches.

Cllr Doe added: "If we can, we will be encouraging local events to be taking place within the Jubilee celebrations.

"We will certainly look at energising local groups and so on to have small festivals or small commemorations, indeed, we will be encouraging street parties as well.

"I've asked the officers if they can produce a street party kit so it's easy for people to organise."

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