Shropshire Star

Beacons light up the night as tradition burns bright across region

Loyal subjects turned out in their droves in Newport to witness the historic lighting of the town's Platinum Jubilee beacon.

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The beacon was lit in Newport as hundreds turned out for the event

It is the first time that a British monarch has sat on the throne for 70 years and it was a moment recognised as such by the new Mayor of Newport and in communities across Shropshire.

Lt Colonel Ian Sawers, deputy lord lieutenant of Shropshire, was on hand to light the beacon in Newport by pressing the button. The beacon sits in the St Nicholas Church tower.

Hundreds of people gathered in Newport for the ceremony

He said:"It's nice that we can get everyone together, it's lovely to see it.

"There is now this spirit across the country, and in Newport they just seem to get it together.

"This is my fourth visit to Newport in the last year. They have a council that have their act together.

"It's fantastic that the Queen has served this country so well for 70 years.

"You could see the smile on her face earlier today. I don't have a message from Her Majesty, but I think that her smile showed what she was thinking. "

The ceremony in Newport

A countdown was held for the lighting of the beacon followed by the crowds singing the national anthem.

Councillor Ian Perry, 62, has sat on the town council since 2011 and is staggered at the thought that the Queen has put in 70 years of public service since she ascended to the throne in 1952.

Mr Perry said: "This is my first major event as mayor and it is a bit daunting but I only had to introduce a couple of people.

"My 11 years seems puny in comparison and I think that puts it into perspective. Quite a few Newport town councillors have done 10 or 15 years, and we see volunteers who complete 25 years.

Bugler John Vernon

"But if you counted up all the years the councillors have done it might come to 75, which also puts the Queen's service into perspective. Before she became Queen she was in the spotlight as Princess Elizabeth.

"I would love to still be working at her age - it is a bonus for most people but she gets up in the morning with the same enthusiasm. She promised to reign for all her life in 1952 and she has stuck to it."

The mayor added that he feels people should show their appreciation for her years on the throne.

"She is a top lady in both senses of the word," he added.

Smiling faces all around as the Newport beacon was lit

It was a busy day for the mayor before the beacon lighting for at 2pm he joined a crowd of 30-40 people when the proclamation was by town crier Peter Taunton. He also joined other dignitaries at the opening of a jubilee rose garden, which is near the canal basin and the town's Victoria Park.

"We hope the roses will grow into something to remember it for years to come," he said.

"There are also plenty of seats nearby where people can sit and reflect."

Piper Paddy McGowan

The jubilee beacon was placed at the top of St Nicholas Church Tower to enable it to be seen across the town, but lit from the bottom of the tower at 9.45pm by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Shrophire, Ian Sawers, at exactly 9.45pm.

Prior to the beacon being lit the local Military Wives Choir performed a programme of music in front of St Nicholas Church.

At 9.35pm a piper played Diu Regnare – a tune written specially for the occasion.

The beacon is on top of St Nicholas Church tower

At 9.40pm a bugler announced the lighting by playing “Majesty” a unique bugler call written especially for the occasion.

Pubs and venues across town were decked out in jubilee colours in preparation for a busy weekend.

But the main jubilee event in the town is the Big Jubilee Lunch celebration on Newport High street on Sunday June 5. Residents have been invited to bring a picnic.

The mayor hopes the long jubilee weekend will give people the chance to get to know each other and to strengthen community spirit.

Councillor Perry said: "The weather will have a say on how many people turn up but we have done a lot of advertising for it.

"It is all an opportunity for people to come together, like we did when we were clapping on our doorsteps for the NHS and talking to our neighbours, and getting to know them.

"I think the jubilee is another opportunity for people to speak to their neighbours who that might never see."