February 6 this year Her Majesty the Queen became the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee.
It marked 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth.
The Lieutenancy of Shropshire, like the rest of the country, is looking forward to the long weekend of jubilee celebrations.
Her Majesty is delighted that communities will come together but at the same time has expressed surprise by the fuss being made over a mere 70 years service.
Shropshire has long held a place in the Queen’s heart.
Over the decades Her Majesty has visited the county on official engagements numerous times, in fact she even visited before she was Queen. You may have attended some of the engagements and seen or even met the Queen. Events include:
l949: Shrewsbury Castle visit by Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh
1952: Shrewsbury school to mark its 400th anniversary. The Queen was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh. This was one of her first visits as the new monarch.
1967: The opening of Shirehall, Shrewsbury with HRH the Duke of Edinburgh
1975: The County Show centenary year. Her Majesty officially opened the President’s Pavilion
1981: The opening of Phase 2 of the Telford Shopping Centre
2003: Celebrating Telford's 40th Birthday at Telford International Centre with HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and then to Ironbridge, Ludlow and Craven Arms.
2012: RAF Cosford for the Diamond Jubilee celebration
More recently, RAF Cosford hosted the Sixty Glorious Years celebration in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh flew into RAF Cosford and it was reported that she was amazed by the number of coaches she could see that had transported the thousands of children who took part in the pageant telling the story of Shropshire over the sixty years of her reign.
I remember that the Duke was particularly entertained by the girls modelling Silhouette corsets commemorating the success of this important Shropshire business of the 1960s.
The weather prior to the visit had been dreadful and the thought of thousands of soggy children filled us with horror, but the day of the visit was a beautiful sunny day.
I was part of the team supporting and organising this visit – Sir Algernon Heber-Percy was Shropshire’s Lord-Lieutenant at the time.
He talked of his delight with what he called “one of the county’s most successful and joyful days”.
As we now prepare to celebrate this unprecedented Platinum jubilee anniversary, events and initiatives will take place throughout the year, culminating in a four-day UK bank holiday weekend from Thursday June 2 to Sunday June 5.
The bank holiday will provide an opportunity for communities and people throughout the United Kingdom to come together to celebrate the historic milestone.
The idea is for neighbours, friends old and new to get together and enjoy traditional old fashioned fun.
The four days of celebrations will include public events and community activities, as well as national moments of reflection on The Queen’s 70 years of service.
In the United Kingdom, Lieutenancies are responsible for promoting the events of the Platinum Jubilee and it is very much hoped everyone in Shropshire will find a way of taking part in this unique celebration.
You will not need to travel very far to enjoy these occasions and initiatives.
The large-scale events will be broadcast on television, to a global audience of tens of millions.
Many of the other events will be organised by local councils and other organisations based in the heart our local communities.
However you plan to celebrate I wish you a happy Jubilee bank holiday.