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April 22, 2011

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City to party for the royal wedding

BRITS and everyone who loves pomp, spectacle and celebrity-watching will be glued to the telly for live broadcasts of the royal wedding next Friday and otherwise partying in the city. Nie Xin reports.

With only one week to go, the royal wedding of UK Prince William and Kate Middleton has become the most talked-about and anticipated event for Britons - including those living abroad.

Shanghai will join the global celebrations as various events will be held citywide among British and other Commonwealth citizens, Chinese locals - and everyone who loves celebrity.

The Red, White and Blue Ball will be held tomorrow night on St George's Day and there will be several other celebrations on the wedding day, or next Friday, April 29.

The Brits Abroad Society will host their first Red, White and Blue Ball to celebrate St George's Day and the royal wedding in style at the Fairmont Peace Hotel.

St George's Day is celebrated by countries and cities where St George is the patron saint, including the UK.

The date is traditionally accepted as the date of St George's death in AD 303.

The black tie party starts from 7pm, and there will be dancing until midnight.

Tickets are on sale and the event will raise money for the Wheelchair Foundation, a non-profit organization providing free wheelchairs to needy children, teenagers and adults worldwide.

"All proceeds on the night will go to the Wheelchair Foundation and 500 yuan (US$76) buys and delivers one wheelchair," says Chris Golding, senior partner at Gladstone Morgan. "This is a first for Shanghai and we are delighted to support this charity fundraising event and celebrate in style."

The group will hold another event on the royal wedding day at O'Malley's on Taojiang Road. It will be a special edition of the society's regular Drop-in Drinks. Proceedings will be broadcast live.

A special buffet afternoon tea will be offered from 4pm to 7:30pm. There will be special royal wedding prices on Pimm's, with champagne and sparkling wine and a happy hour from 6:30pm to 10:30pm on selected wines and beers.

"Living so far away from home doesn't mean that we'll miss out on the pomp and ceremony surrounding the royal wedding," says Katy Gow, president of Brits Abroad Society. "The two events organized by Brits Abroad will provide the opportunities to enjoy all the splendor leading up to and on the day of the wedding itself."

The Brits Abroad Society is a non-profit group that provides assistance and expertise to the members and promotes friendship throughout the British and the wider expat community through social, cultural and charitable activities.

Membership is open to all foreign passport holders.

The British International School's Pudong New Area campus will hold a street party for an hour from 12pm on April 29. All the staff and students in school uniform will sit down on the grounds to have lunch together. The grounds will be decorated as a traditional UK street party, in red, white and blue.

"Even though we are in China, we wanted to celebrate the happy occasion," says Nicki Percival, events manager of the school.

Brian Davidson, consul general of the United Kingdom in Shanghai, will attend the party and join everyone for lunch.

Ken Xie, 29, who studied in London for a master's degree and works in a real estate company, is looking forward to the wedding and plans to celebrate.

"I see the UK as my second hometown and really want to join the events and enjoy the memorable occasion," says Xie.

"It will also be a good opportunity to gather with my old friends in UK and meet new Brits living in Shanghai."

Shanghai's only English-language TV channel, ICS, will broadcast all the pomp and ceremony live and nonstop from 2pm to 8:30pm. There will be complete coverage from London, a host on the scene and special guests explaining the proceedings and traditions.

? Red, White and Blue Ball

Date: April 23, from 7pm

Venue: Fairmont Peace Hotel, 20 Nanjing Rd E.

Cost: 950 yuan (members of Brits Abroad Society); 1,150 yuan (non-members)


? Drop-in Drinks

Date: April 29, from 4pm

Venue: O'Malley's, 42 Taojiang Rd

Cost: 60 yuan (members of Brits Abroad Society); 70 yuan (non-members)

? Royal wedding live broadcast

April 29, 2-8:30pm, ICS


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