Friday 8 June 2012

Britain was no country and the Thames no river for old sailors on HMS Belfast on the day of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Flotilla

The BBC's pre publicity for the celebrations in London last weekend raised expectations with :

Follow Fearne during The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee


We were promised that :

On Sunday 3rd June Fearne will be part of the team hosting the phenomenal four and a half hour coverage of The Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant, as a flotilla of 1000 boats from the UK and Commonwealth accompany The Queen along the River Thames.
A nautical Fearne will be reporting from aboard HMS Belfast, where she will be chatting to veteran sailors with an incredible bird’s eye view of the climax point of the whole day.

In the event, on the day :

 26 former seamen, all aged between 70 and 90, were summoned to the quarterdeck, where they were left to shiver in the cold while only two were interviewed and one of them was condemned by viewers after she called one 'Jim' when his name was 'John'.

One of the old mariners, former petty officer, Bryan Stockley, who is 75 and who served on Belfast in the Far East, said the shipmates' experience was  "absolutely traumatic" and their day was "completely ruined". He added: "It was appallingly inconsiderate to ask people of our age to stand for so long and get so cold."

A spokesman for the BBC said it had apologised for the delay to the interviews. "We endeavoured to speak to as many of the people involved in the pageant as possible."

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