London invites the world to celebrate the diamond jubillee with the largest flotilla of modern times

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On Sunday 3rdJune 2012 the River Thames will provide the backdrop for the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant - the largest flotilla to be assembled on the river in modern times - as the public are invited to take part in one of the major celebrations of Her Majesty's sixty year reign.
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The Queen will lead a flotilla of up to one thousand boats assembled from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the World. With a Bank Holiday the following day, the event organisers are planning for well over one million people to line the banks of the Thames to witness the pageant and join in the celebrations.

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London Mayor, Boris Johnson, said: "I cannot conceive of a more fitting celebration of Her Majesty's 60 years on the throne than a majestic flotilla of vessels, large and small, winding their way along the iconic River Thames and showcasing our proud maritime history. This magnificent pageant will not only provide a terrific focal point for Diamond Jubilee commemorations, but will demonstrate to the world London's pride in its heritage and traditions."
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Letters have today been sent to the High Commissioners of every Commonwealth country � and to the Lord Lieutenants of every county in the UK inviting each to send a vessel for the flotilla.

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The flotilla - expected to measure 7.5 miles long from end to end - will be one of the major focal points of celebration during the special Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, and will comprise a diverse mix of the historic and the modern: from rowed boats to sailing ships, steamers to wooden launches and larger motorised craft. The flotilla specifically aims to capture the diversity of Britain and the Commonwealth's proud maritime history.
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The Diamond Jubilee River Pageant will be a piece of theatre on the water and will integrate music, fireworks and special effects. The flotilla will be made up of five sections each separated by a "herald barge" the first of which will be a floating belfry of eight new bells cast by the Whitechapel Bell foundry and commissioned by the church of St James Garlickhythe. Their peals will be answered and echoed by chimes from riverbank churches along the route. Other barges will feature water jets and sprays reminiscent of the old Thames fire-fighting boats, live entertainment and music from the six decades of the Queen's realm, and a pyrotechnic barge will provide further entertainment for the watching public, with daytime fireworks and a mechanical flame spitting dragon.

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