It’s party time!

Muskets and cannon are fired at the Maritime Experience. to salute the Royal Wedding.
Muskets and cannon are fired at the Maritime Experience. to salute the Royal Wedding.

APRIL showers failed to dampen the spirits as the folk of Hartlepool and east Durham celebrated the Royal Wedding in style.

Despite fears of a lack of interest in the big day after no official requests for street parties were submitted to the council, there were garden gatherings galore as people made the most of the bank holiday to mark the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

While the crowds in London gathered from the early hours, there were scenes on a smaller scale locally as people got up early to deck out their homes and gardens with wedding-themed bunting.

Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre was deserted as the wedding took place, with royal-watchers glued to their televisions to see events unfolding at Westminster Abbey.

Once the formalities were over the parties got into full swing as neighbours raised a glass to the happy couple.

And even grey skies and showers failed to stop the celebrations as fun-lovers got ready to party long into the day.

Visitors to the Trincomalee in Hartlepool were given the chance to toast the newly-weds with a traditional “whisky mac” as the made their way around the Maritime Experience.

At the same venue, staff fired 18th century muskets and cannons to coincide with the momemt William and Kate tied the knot.

Quay assistant Christine Bentham said: “We were delighted to toast the royal couple with a traditional cannon and musket salute. Everyone at the Maritime Experience wishes them every happiness.”

On Hartlepool’s Headland there was a special significance to the day for residents in Throston Street, where Kate’s great-great-great grandmother Elizabeth Webster was born in 1848.

Julie Carney, 46, a mum of five who lives in the street with her husband, Cameron, 40, said: “It’s fantastic to have the heritage link to the Headland, it makes a very special occasion even more special.”

FOR more coverage of the event, see Page 4 and 5 and the souvenir pull-out in today’s Mail.