A Co Antrim woman has been busy decorating her house for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Patriotic bunting and flags have been strewn across the home and garden of Sheila Loughlin who lives, very appropriately, on Coronation Road in Carrickfergus.
And taking pride of place in Sheila’s display is a wonderful cardboard cut out of Her Majesty waving to the crowd.
Read more: Beacons light up skies across Northern Ireland for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
Like many, Sheila, 51, has gone all out to mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.
“I have been gathering up items over the past few months ahead of the Platinum Jubilee – I’ve just been ordering and ordering,” Sheila admitted.
“The Amazon man has certainly been busy! I suppose I’ve spent well over £100 and the cardboard cut out was around £38 but she’s worth it. I love her to bits – the cardboard version and the real thing!
“I’ve lent my cardboard Queen out to the local care home for today but she usually stands at my front window waving to everyone.”
For her neighbours, patriotic decorations outside Sheila’s home are nothing new as she decks out her house and garden every year for the Twelfth but she says this year’s effort is extra special.
“The decorations went up on Sunday evening – my partner did it while I stood at the bottom of the ladder and gave instructions!” she added.
“I love doing this every year and the neighbours always know that it’s coming. I’m following in my mum’s footsteps as she always did this.
“I have memories of her house and street around the corner in Alexandra Place always being decorated.”
For Sheila, this is her fourth Jubilee celebration. She was just seven years old when the Queen marked her Silver Jubilee in 1977.
“I can remember everybody collecting clothes because a neighbour had a sewing machine so she made red, white and blue triangles for the bunting,” she recalled.
“We had all the tables laid out for the street party and everyone was in fancy dress.”
“For the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 I organised a big street party for the local community and we had a DJ and bouncy castles across in the green.
“All those kids are grown up now so this year it will be just family and friends coming to me on Sunday to celebrate Her Majesty so it won’t be as big last time.”
“This year the decorations had to be a bit more special to honour and show our appreciation for a woman who has given 70 years of public service to her country.
“The neighbours have some decorations up too but they don’t go to the same extent as me. For me, the Queen is worth every penny.”
Thursday marked the start of a long bank holiday weekend in Northern Ireland, which will also include a visit from the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
The royal couple are expected to carry out two engagements in the region on Saturday.
As well as the gun salute at Royal Hillsborough, which is the Queen’s official residence here, beacons were also lit at towns and cities across Northern Ireland to celebrate the commemorative event.
Over the weekend, big lunch events will be taking place across the region, including on the Shankill Road and in Bangor, Co Down, which was made a city as part of the Jubilee celebrations.
Read more: Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: 42-gun salute heralds start of celebrations in NI
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