Long to rain over us: Sir Nigel Gresley Square opens in Doncaster

Open: Sir Nigel Gresley Square was officially opened to start Doncaster's Jubilee celebrations.
Open: Sir Nigel Gresley Square was officially opened to start Doncaster's Jubilee celebrations.
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IT’S been fenced off for weeks - but residents in a South Yorkshire town finally got the chance to wander around their smart new square, writes Russ Nedwton.

Large crowds braved the rain in Doncaster for the grand opening by Mayor Peter Davies of Sir Nigel Gresley Square.

The piazza on Waterdale, in front of the new civic centre and new performance venue, has been under construction for several months.

And the warm weather has brought fresh leaves to the many architectural trees planted round it.

More than four hours of entertainment and fun was laid on by the council to mark the grand opening, which was fixed to coincide with the Jubilee weekend.

Visitors could also get a close-up look at a new 8-metre high sculpture erected in the square, which has already aroused mixed feelings.

“It is a special day for the town as we come together to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee and the opening of the first key element of Doncaster’s Civic and Cultural Quarter,” said the Mayor.

The square is part of the first phase of the Civic and Cultural Quarter being delivered by Doncaster Council and its development partner Muse Developments. The project is being part-funded by the European Union, as part of the European Regional Development Fund’s support for the region’s economic development.

As well as singers and comedians entertaining the crowds there were stalls. One was run by Susan Forbes, who grew up on Jubilee Road, Doncaster, and was showcasing her vintage art and crafts techniques.

Susan, an experienced textiles artist who offers workshops and classes around the Doncaster area, was encouraging people who attended the big event to have a go at creating their own Jubilee inspired textiles.

“As a local community artist who has delivered visual art sessions to all ages and abilities in every area in our borough, I am proud to take part in this exciting event,” she said.

“I have been looking forward to passing on my textiles skills and passion for art and crafts to both the young and elder generations of Doncaster. Look out for fabric bunting and brooches, diamonds and crowns, corgis and guards!”

Doncaster’s Jubilee celebrations got off to an impressive start on Saturday when Civic Mayor Christine Mills led dignitaries on a parade from the Mansion House to Doncaster Minster for a special thanksgiving service to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The parade formed on High Street to the accompaniment of music from the Armthorpe Elmfield Band.

The procession, headed by Macebearer Paul Lawson, headed to the bottom of the French Gate precinct and then on to Church Way, which was closed during the parade.

The hour-long service included a reading from the Civic Mayor, prayers, and popular hymns before the parade returned to the Mansion House.

Civic Mayor, Coun Chris Mills, said: “It was a proud moment to be leading this town centre parade that honours the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It was a day to remember.”