OBAMA MAKES HISTORY: Emotional night for Democrats Abroad
PUBLISHED: 14:08 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:51 07 September 2010
Jonathan Goldberg 07958 229 037
Sanchez Manning ON A night of historical firsts the celebrations for the inauguration of Barack Obama were expected to be the most spectacular ever. And one of the biggest parties in London was the Democrats Abroad s inaugural ball at the Royal Lancaster
ON A night of historical firsts the celebrations for the inauguration of Barack Obama were expected to be the most spectacular ever.
And one of the biggest parties in London was the Democrats Abroad's inaugural ball at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, Bayswater.
The US Democratic Party's oversees branch sold thousands of tickets to their black-tie event in honour of the first black president to be sworn into the White House.
Hundreds of Obama's faithful, many of whom personally campaigned for his election, turned out to mark their candidate's victory.
One overjoyed Little Venice resident Richard Gibson, 77, who is a member of Democrats Abroad, admitted he never believed there would be an African-American president in his lifetime.
Mr Gibson, who is also African-American and grew up in California, believes the secret to Obama's success is his appeal to young people.
"Basically it was the young people who came out to vote and it wasn't just the African Americans.
"So he recruited from places that he never thought he would."
He added: "This is the biggest ever inauguration because it's a change and the fact that people never thought it would happen."
Obama's election marks a return to form for a party out of office for eight years, and it has been predicted he could help them stay in power for another 16.
This feat was not lost on revellers, who included former Labour MPs Oona King and Paul Boateng, at the Royal Lancaster.
Cheers went up as Obama took to the stage to give his inauguration speech on Capitol Hill on the big screens installed in the hotel's expansive dining room.
But with a touch of Pantomine George Bush's appearance on screen elicited boos and shouts of 'go home'.
Emotions were clearly running high and one guest from Highgate, Brian Alexander, who had ironically donned a John McCain rubber mask, said: "It's amazing, fantastic.
"I cried when he got elected and I cried again today.
"I never though this would happen in my country."
Another guest from North London, Judy Graham, was equally excited: "It's a great night and a great celebration.
"He (Obama) symbolises what we all believe in that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their potential - and this is his."
With the speeches over the democrats really started to party and many hit the dance floor, boogying to music provided by the American School in St John's Wood's jazz band. Others queued to have their photograph taken with the Barack Obama cardboard cut out.
As the night drew to a close euphoric cries of "Obama - yes we can" were still ringing out through the streets of Bayswater.
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