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Brexit: our plan to hold a wake on January 31

There has been talk of the Brexit Party organising a party in Parliament Square, recorded Big Ben “bongs”, and a countdown being projected on 10 Downing Street – but for most readers the night of January 31 will not be a celebration.

Many have told us of a sense of loss or mourning, and some have even suggested a wake.

“I might start wearing black,” one said. Another said she would hang out the EU flag and Scottish Saltire in protest – “not in our name”.

Retired teacher John Arthur, 70, from Pyrénées-Atlantiques, said he and his wife Hilary had invited their French neighbours and three mixed French-British couples. “We didn’t want to be alone but don’t want a big party either – this isn’t a celebration.

“We sent out a formal faire part and invited them to a veillée de deuil (wake) We’ll be solemnly dressed but that’s as far as the scenario goes.

“We wanted to spend a painful moment together and enjoy the solidarity of friends who understand what we’re losing. Our neighbours insisted we spend the referendum night with them, when we were in a worse emotional state. 

“Then it was a shock, now it’s more like resig­na­tion. 

“Although we worry about our financial situation – will the pound lose value, will there be currency exchange limits? – our  healthcare and loss of onward free movement rights, what we regret most is being excluded from the European project of working and learning together and understanding each other.”

The In Limbo Project, which publishes testimonies from EU27 citizens in the UK and Britons abroad in the EU, proposed on social media that Britons mark the occasion by spending time with like-minded friends, sharing a “table for Europe” (

Though they were outnumbered, a couple of readers were looking forward to the night. “I’ll be opening a bottle of champagne and celebrating – free at last,” one said.

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