‘Fantastic’ Mad Hatter’s Big Lunch staged in Derry

The Hazelbank community came together this week to enjoy a colourful Mad Hatter’s Big Lunch party within the estate.

People of all ages, from babies to senior citizens got in the spirit and dressed up for the event, which was staged at Farland Way.

The Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion pictured with all the 'Gang' at Wednesday's Big Lunch at Farland Way. DER2615MC049

The Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion pictured with all the 'Gang' at Wednesday's Big Lunch at Farland Way. DER2615MC049

Many participants designed and made their own colourful hats for a competition parade, with local priest Fr Paddy O’Kane having the honour of judging the best in show.

As well as tea, soft drinks and party food there was also an outdoor disco, games and prizes to be won throughout the afternoon.

The event was organised by Margaret Cunningham. Community Assistant with Habinteg Housing, and the Cosy (Citizens of Senior Years) Club.

Ms Cunningham, who also ran a Big Lunch in the estate last year, said: “It’s a great way of bringing all ages together over a wee cup of tea and a sandwich, and everybody comes along.

Sisters Ann Jones and Mary Smith pictured during Wednesday's Big Lunch at Farland Way. DER2615MC048

Sisters Ann Jones and Mary Smith pictured during Wednesday's Big Lunch at Farland Way. DER2615MC048

“We have had hat making prior to this event. Personally I love themed events, it’s a great way of breaking down barriers for people who don’t know one another. And the weather held out as well.”

She adde: “It really, really heights community spirit. Sometimes people living on their own maybe don’t always see people from one end of the week to the next, so I think events like this are a great way of actually coming along and just meeting new people and new friends and small talk becomes big talk.”

Age Concern’s Pensioner of the Year and local resident James Nash was among the VIPs who attended the event.

He said: “This is actually the second year of One Big Lunch. I think it’s fantastic. Compared to last year it’s got bigger and bigger. This whole event is to bring the community together and it’s working. It worked last year and it’s working better this year. There are people actually coming now form other areas to join in this One Big Lunch. It’s absolutely brilliant.

WILL HE. . .OR WON'T HE?!. . . Mad Hatter (aka Danny McNamee) dares to throw a custard pie at our photographer during Wednesday's Mad Hatter's Tea Party. DER2615MC052

WILL HE. . .OR WON'T HE?!. . . Mad Hatter (aka Danny McNamee) dares to throw a custard pie at our photographer during Wednesday's Mad Hatter's Tea Party. DER2615MC052

“I’ve got to know people I possibly might not have got to know and I’ve been living here years.

“It’s inter-generational, we have children here, their mothers and fathers. We have got their grandmothers- two, three generations.”

Mayor Of Derry & Strabane Elisha McCallion was another of the VIPs who turned up to take part.

She said: “This is obviously coming on the back of the Eden Project launching the Big Lunch a number of years ago, and ever since we have had community organisations such as this doing these type of events and they are very much welcomed, they are embraced by the entire community.”

Lily Gallagher and Margaret McAllister parading in the Bonnet Competition at Wednesday's Mad Hatter's Tea Party, part of the Big Lunch at Farland Way, Derry.  DER2615MC043

Lily Gallagher and Margaret McAllister parading in the Bonnet Competition at Wednesday's Mad Hatter's Tea Party, part of the Big Lunch at Farland Way, Derry. DER2615MC043

Rose McCormick and Sophia McCool lead the parade at The Big Lunch on Wednesday. DER2615MC045

Rose McCormick and Sophia McCool lead the parade at The Big Lunch on Wednesday. DER2615MC045

ON THE PHONE!. . . Derry's Pensioner of the Year John Nash pictured during Wednesday's Big Lunch at Farland Way. DER2615MC047

ON THE PHONE!. . . Derry's Pensioner of the Year John Nash pictured during Wednesday's Big Lunch at Farland Way. DER2615MC047

Eleanor Breslin, Geraldine Fitzpatrick and Paula Doherty at The Big Lunch on Wednesday. DER2615MC046

Eleanor Breslin, Geraldine Fitzpatrick and Paula Doherty at The Big Lunch on Wednesday. DER2615MC046

TICKETS FOR THE DRAW!. . . .Local ladies Jean Wilton, Josie Boyle and Eileen Harkin get their tickets ready for the draw at Wednesday's Big Lunch in Farland Way. DER2615MC051

TICKETS FOR THE DRAW!. . . .Local ladies Jean Wilton, Josie Boyle and Eileen Harkin get their tickets ready for the draw at Wednesday's Big Lunch in Farland Way. DER2615MC051

The Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion pictured with Annie Doherty at Wednesday's Big Lunch at Farland Way. DER2615MC050

The Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion pictured with Annie Doherty at Wednesday's Big Lunch at Farland Way. DER2615MC050

The Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion pictured with the Mad Hatter's Tea Party group on Wednesday. On right at front is Councillor Eric McGinley. DER2615MC053

The Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion pictured with the Mad Hatter's Tea Party group on Wednesday. On right at front is Councillor Eric McGinley. DER2615MC053