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Britons close out coronation festivities with 'Big Help Out' day of volunteering

The Prince and Princess of Wales chat to guests at the Big Coronation Lunch in Windsor on Sunday, one of about 65,000 street parties across the country, ahead of a star-studded concert in the evening, just some of the events being held to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III over the weekend. Photo by Martin DivisekEPA/EFE
The Prince and Princess of Wales chat to guests at the Big Coronation Lunch in Windsor on Sunday, one of about 65,000 street parties across the country, ahead of a star-studded concert in the evening, just some of the events being held to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III over the weekend. Photo by Martin DivisekEPA/EFE

May 8 (UPI) -- Britain will wrap up three days of coronation celebrations Monday with millions of people helping out at community events across the country with members of the royal family expected to pitch in.

The Big Help Out asks people to use the extra bank holiday to volunteer at one of 55,000 events being put on by 30,000 charities and organizations such as the Scouts.

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"The Whole theme of this weekend has been about service. We're not just spectators in that, we're part of the story," BHO co-founder and Scouts CEO Matt Hyde told the BBC, adding people could still sign up for activities in their area at the last minute.

About six million people are expected to take part with organizers urging people to come forward to help reverse a massive drop off in volunteering seen since the COVID-19 pandemic that has left organizations in "desperate" need of help.

Together Coalition co-founder Brendan Cox said the day was designed around making it as easy as possible for people to get involved.

"Over the COVID pandemic, volunteering rates dropped because organizations that normally recruit weren't recruiting, and people got out of the habit," Cox told BBC radio. "The thinking behind today was how do you make volunteering as easy to take part in as possible."

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Most people are expected to take part in activities being run in local communities or joining in with groups such as the Scouts, National Trust and Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Prince William and the Princess of Wales are due to drop in at a Scout hut in Berkshire, Princess Anne will attend a civic service at Gloucester Cathedral in recognition of local volunteers, Prince Edward and the Duchess of Edinburgh will join in with puppy training at a guide dog center, while the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attend a London street party to meet volunteers.

Politicians are also getting in on the act with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy volunteering at a lunch club, Labor leader Keir Starmer taking incoming calls for the NHS volunteer responders program, and Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf helping at a community food bank.

The newly crowned King Charles III and Queen Camilla, however, are not expected to participate.

The community service day follows a coronation concert in the grounds of Windsor Castle on Sunday evening with performances from a host of stars including Lionel Richie and Katy Perry watched by the new monarchs, the extended royal family and 20,000 members of the public.

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Actor Tom Cruise paid tribute to the king from the cockpit of his P51 Mustang fighter in flight while MC Hugh Bonneville was helped out by Miss Piggy and Kermit who eventually infiltrated the royal box to join in the dancing with the royal family.

King Charles III, Queen Camilla crowned in London

King Charles III waves from the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London after his coronation on May 6, 2023. Photo by The British Ministry of Defense | License Photo

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