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The Duchess of Cornwall launches the Big Lunch 2015

10th March 2015

The Duchess of Cornwall with Marcus Aitken, after the Duchess presented him with an Ambassadors Award for his help with the organisation of the Big Lunch, at Clarence House in London.

The Duchess of Cornwall with Marcus Aitken, after the Duchess presented him with an Ambassadors Award for his help with the organisation of the Big Lunch, at Clarence House in London.

The Duchess of Cornwall launched The Big Lunch 2015 with a lunch of her own for a group of outstanding community stalwarts.

Her Royal Highness handed out wooden plaques to eight people who have brought their neighbourhoods together, during the Clarence House reception.

The Duchess, who is Patron of The Big Lunch, told the group how proud she was to be the organisation's figurehead and said: "It seems to have gone from big to enormous."

She went on to highlight how The Big Lunch was an integral part of the celebrations during The Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. The Duchess added: "And obviously talking to everybody here today it's making a huge difference to people's lives and getting people talking.

"And that's what community is all about, so please keep on with the good work and thank you very much for all that you do."

The Big Lunch, was started by Eden Project, and aims to encourage people across the UK to have lunch with their neighbours for a few hours of community, friendship and fun on one day a year.

Organisers hope to inspire more than six million people in the UK to attend this year's lunch on Sunday 7th June.

The lunchtime Clarence House reception saw fish and risotto dishes served to the guests and for dessert was a sponge cake that featured a tea pot placed on top by The Duchess.

Eight people were awarded wooden plaques after being named The Big Lunch Ambassadors - with the youngest recipient 12-year-old Marcus Aitken from Cardiff.

The schoolboy helped organise a lunch last summer and said: "My street was down and boring before but now everyone talks to each other."

The Duchess of Cornwall with Onkar Singh, after the Duchess presented him with an Ambassadors Award for his help with the organisation of the Big Lunch, at Clarence House in London.

The Duchess of Cornwall with Onkar Singh, after the Duchess presented him with an Ambassadors Award for his help with the organisation of the Big Lunch, at Clarence House in London.

Paul Selby, 38, from Wythenshawe, south Manchester who has been involved in The Big Lunch for the past six years said: "It's made a huge difference to my community people say hello and good morning now.

"When people are away their pets will be looked after or people will keep eye on their home - the sorts of things people used to do before we all got too busy.

"The Big Lunch is an excuse to close our road, stick up some bunting and have a good time - it doesn't matter if it's five or 500."

Communities that want to organise their own Big Lunch can find more details at: www.thebiglunch.com