UK PM Rishi Sunak, wife Akshata to host Coronation Big Lunch for community heroes

London: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murty will host a Coronation Big Lunch at Downing Street in London on Sunday for community heroes to celebrate the crowning of King Charles III and Queen Camilla as part of the country’s long celebratory weekend.

Among the invitees is British Sikh entrepreneur Navjot Singh Sawhney, who won the UK PM’s Points of Light Award earlier this year for his eco-friendly hand-cranked Washing Machine Project, which is benefitting over 1,000 families without access to an electric machine in underdeveloped countries or refugee camps.

The event is one of an estimated 50,000 Big Lunches or street parties being organised up and down the United Kingdom to celebrate the Coronation at Westminster Abbey in London on Saturday. Also joining the Downing Street party will be Ukrainians forced to flee the war-torn country amid its conflict with Russia.

Come rain or shine, thousands of friends and neighbours are coming together this weekend to put up the bunting, pour the tea and cut the cake at street parties and community events across the UK, said Sunak.

I am proud to welcome Ukrainians forced to flee their homes and some incredible community heroes to Downing Street for our very own Coronation lunch to celebrate this historic moment. In England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and across our Overseas Territories and the wider Commonwealth people are marking this momentous occasion in the spirit of unity and hope for the future, he said.

The British Indian leader made history at the Coronation ceremony on Saturday when he read a passage from a biblical book at the Abbey as the head of government of the host nation.

Akshata Murty, the daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy and the UK’s Indian First Lady, marched in with him as part of a Commonwealth Realms procession.

Sunday marks the designated Big Lunch element of the Coronation weekend, a nationwide initiative to bring neighbours and communities together to celebrate the historic event.

Downing Street has been adorned with bunting featuring the official Coronation emblem and the Union Flag. Crockery will be donated by Emma Bridgewater the award-winning ceramics company based in Stoke-on-Trent including a limited-edition King Charles III teapot.

Besides Sawhney, several other recipients of the Points of Light Award volunteers that have made an outstanding contribution to their community have been invited to attend the event.

Winning the Points of Light award and getting recognised by the Prime Minister is a phenomenal privilege. The Washing Machine Project’s mission is to alleviate the burden of unpaid labour, mainly on women and children, said Sawhney of his work.

Attendees will enjoy food sourced from across the UK, including Loch Duart salmon from Sutherland in North West Scotland and soda farl from Northern Ireland. Beef will come from Gloucestershire in South West England and ice cream has been sourced from Chilly Cow, a company based in Ruthin, Wales.

Ukrainians fleeing the Russia-Ukraine conflict and their UK-based sponsors will also join the event.

They include Olga Breslavska who travelled to the UK as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme and is currently studying an intensive English course. Caroline Quill a Homes for Ukraine sponsor has been instrumental in matching 250 families across East Sussex and Kent and will also join the lunch.

Young people from organisations such as UK Youth and the National Association of Boys and Girls Clubs have also been invited to mark the occasion.

Members of Britain’s royal family will also attend some community events and street parties during the day before seeing the likes of pop stars Katy Perry and Take That perform at Windsor Castle at the Coronation Concert on Sunday evening. Bollywood star Sonam Kapoor Ahuja is among those scheduled to make an appearance at the concert.