Birthday wishes sent to Charles Dickens from Portsmouth birthplace

CELEBRATION Crowds gather in Old Commercial Road to celebrate Charles Dickens 200th birthday
CELEBRATION Crowds gather in Old Commercial Road to celebrate Charles Dickens 200th birthday
HMS Queen Elizabeth, the UK's newest aircraft carrier, arrives in Portsmouth for the first time. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday August 16, 2017. The 65,000-tonne carrier, the largest warship ever to be built in Britain, is expected to be the Navy's flagship for at least 50 years. See PA story DEFENCE Carrier. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire DEFENCE_Carrier_074512.JPG

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More than 300 people packed a tiny remnant of Dickensian Portsmouth this morning to pay tribute to the master wordsmith.

In biting cold and a handful of aptly atmospheric snowflakes, they burst into a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday to wish Charles Dickens 200th birthday greetings.

The scene in Old Commercial Road was brought to life by many dressed in Victorian costume.

Great great grandson Ian Dickens told The News: ‘It’s a marvellous occasion with people here from all over the world.

‘This just cements in my mind the wonderful affection in which my great great grandfather and his works are held today by young and old.’

Ten-year-old Sky Musselwhite, a pupil at Charles Dickens’s School said: ‘I really wanted to come today and be part of history.

‘We’ve just read Oliver Twist at school and it made me realise how lucky we all are to have enough to eat.’

A service of thanksgiving is now being held at St Mary’s Church, the parish church of Portsea.