Diamond Jubilee celebrations: Leek
THOUSANDS turned out to enjoy Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Leek despite the persistent threat of rain.
Traders estimated the number of Saturday shoppers doubled as people gathered in the town centre to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne.
Crowds browsed wares produced by town traders, stood in queues to have faces painted and listened to live music from a steel band and the Bill Bailey Jazz Band.
Tina Roberts, who runs the retro retailer shop Flashbank in Stanley Street, said the turnout reflected both the town's patriotism and determination to forget the country's economic woes.
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Tina, who was draped in a Union Flag on the day, said: "I'm very patriotic and I think people are determined to forget the problems and throw themselves into the Jubilee."
There were about 30 traders, ranging from local produce to photography.
Freelance photographer Brett Trafford set up stall both to commemorate both the Queen's milestone as well as supporting the Totally Locally initiative to support independent traders in Leek.
Brett, who runs the Leek Daily Photo blog site (http://leekdailyphoto.blogspot.co.uk/), said: "I don't do this regularly, but it's great to be involved in something for the jubilee as well as helping promoting traders in the town.
"I was here last weekend and it was red-hot. This week it's freezing in comparison, but I would say it's definitely busier than it would normally be."
A highlight on the entertainment front came from the Bill Bailey Jazz Band.
The four musicians came together for the first time for a series of sets throughout the day.
Eric Newton, who has been a regular busker in Hanley and World Record marathon runner, said: "There's been so many gigs over the Jubilee that I've had to turn down 11 over the next week.
"People are desperate to get musicians to celebrate the Queen's 60-year-reign. I will play for anybody, but it's great that people want to celebrate the Queen."
The main market was filled with stalls so traders set up in nearby Russell Street and Sheep Market.
Shirley Wright, aged 42, from North Street in the town, said: "Even though the weather isn't as good as it was last weekend, there's a great atmosphere in the town. It's great to see local businesses showing off what they can do - I particularly liked the cheese stall."
Kenneth Cartwright travelled up from Coventry with his family and was surprised by the turnout in Leek.
He said: "We're planning to go to Alton Towers tomorrow and thought we would visit Leek as we'd heard it was really good for antiques.
"I was really surprised by how many people were in town - I'd certainly think about coming back again."