The community of Aldershot came together for a day of traditional seaside fun at Victoria Day on Saturday.

Despite the threat of bad weather, crowds lined the town centre streets to watch the Victoria Day parade make its way through the town centre.

The rain held off and more than 500 people from community groups, schools and businesses took part, dressed in colourful Victorian bathing suits and seaside stripes – plus pirates, sailors, a mermaid and even someone dressed as a traditional beach hut.

The event was organised by Rushmoor Borough Council, with the support of an enthusiastic group of volunteers and residents, who are part of the Aldershot Community Together group.

Marching bands, Normandy veterans, schoolchildren, Scout and Guide groups and army cadets were among the many groups parading through the town centre. They were also joined by residents representing the Friends of Aldershot Lido, Aldershot Women’s Institute and the Greater Rushmoor Nepali Community, to name just a few.

The parade was led by the town’s very own Queen Victoria, Betty Bryce, who waved to the crowds from a carriage pulled by two beautiful black horses with feather plumes, kindly provided by Finch and Sons funeral directors.

This year’s Best in Parade certificate was awarded to Aldershot Girl Guiding. For the second year running, The Best Dressed Shop Window was awarded to Edgar Jerome in Wellington Street, who created an amazing traditional seaside window, complete with sand, seagulls and a deckchair. The Best Dressed Shop Assistant award was presented to the staff at Aldershot Specsavers. The Traders’ Cup for outstanding contribution to Victoria Day was presented to Shirley Gibbs at The Dressing Up Shop who has been a part of the event for many years.

There was lots happening around the town centre all day with free parking for visitors, brass bands performing and stalls to browse in the community market. The best stall award was presented to SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

There was also plenty to do in Princes Gardens with family activities including a seaside photo board, sandpits, craft activities, donkey rides and fun fair rides.

Live entertainment provided a focal point in the community bandstand with performances by Farnham Big Band, the Conga Keyz, Jack Mason, Nirzari, KM Belly Dance and Redz Performing Academy.

Councillor David Clifford, Leader of Rushmoor Borough Council, said: “What a brilliant day! We are so grateful to everyone involved – all the volunteers, marshals, community groups, businesses and local schools – every one of you is amazing. It was fantastic to see everyone embracing the seaside theme – get in touch if you have a suggestion for next year’s theme! Huge thanks also go to our sponsors Grainger Plc, Specsavers, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and to Hampshire County Council’s councillors Bill Withers and Charles Choudhary for supporting the event through their grants.”

David added: “This is just the start of a summer of events to support our town centres and Aldershot’s next big event will be the Armed Forces Day celebration and parade on Saturday 29 June, so make sure you come along and show your support to the troops.”

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