England

Diamond Jubilee: Thousands of beacons are lit around UK

  • 5 June 2012
  • From the section England
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The Queen's Diamond Jubilee festivities continued as thousands of beacons were lit across the UK following a concert at Buckingham Palace.

The Queen lit the final beacon from the concert stage after Sir Paul McCartney topped the bill.

More than 4,000 beacons were ignited across the Commonwealth.

Beacons in Tonga and New Zealand were the first to be lit and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard set off the fire in Canberra.

Across the UK, beacons were lit on landmarks and hills - including the peaks of Ben Nevis in Scotland, Snowdonia in Wales, Scafell Pike in England and Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland.

The Queen lit the National Beacon before a firework display at Buckingham Palace.

Fireworks and music

The Duke of Edinburgh was not able to attend the concert celebrations after he was taken to hospital with a bladder infection.

A beacon was also been lit on board HMS Daring, one of the Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyers on operations east of Suez.

Commanding Officer Captain Guy Robinson, led his ship's company in sending congratulations to the Queen.

Image caption The beacon at Mow Cop Castle, Staffordshire, was part of a chain of fires across the UK

More than 600 church tower beacons marked the occasion.

Many communities across the UK organised special events around their beacon lighting, with fireworks and music.

At Abbey Park, in Leicester, a lantern parade with fire sculptures was on display with a beacon.

A 30ft (9.1m) wooden sculpture of Britannia was also set alight, in East Hoathly, East Sussex.

Three weeks of work and three lorry loads of wood went into making the female warrior, complete with trident, shield and helmet.

Humber flotilla

In Nottingham, civil engineering students tested their skills by making and installing a beacon.

The beacon was manufactured at New College Nottingham and put up in Sneinton.

In the Yorkshire Dales, an Army helicopter was called in to transport wood to build beacons.

Soldiers from the Army Air Corps used a Lynx helicopter to carry loads of timber to hilltops in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire.

Kent saw more beacons lit than any other county, with 182 applications made to the event organisers.

The Humber Estuary was the scene of a Jubilee flotilla, more than 115 years after the venue hosted a similar event to celebrate 60 years of Queen Victoria's reign.

The parade of sail featured a vessel for each year since the Queen's accession to the throne.

Later, beacons were lit across the Humber Bridge.

Hadrian's Wall was lit up by 60 beacons hosted by communities across the World Heritage Site, from South Shields to Ravenglass.

In Manchester a "green beacon" was lit in a hospital car park.

The University Hospital of South Manchester commissioned a sculptor to produce a beacon made of recycled hospital beds which resembles a giant stylised crown measuring 5ft wide, with towering spikes more than 12ft high.

Religious buildings lighting beacons have included the Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Hindu Temple, in Oldbury, in the West Midlands, and St Mary's Parish Church, an Anglican church in Moseley, Birmingham.

Representatives from charity Cancer Research UK scaled England's tallest mountain Scafell Pike to light a beacon.

In Worcestershire, the Great Malvern Jubilee Picnic took place before a beacon was lit on top of the Malvern Hills by 77-year-old Tony Cotgreave, who as a teenage scout lit the bonfire built to celebrate the Queen's Coronation in 1953.

In Kent the South Foreland Lighthouse , which used to warn ships away from a treacherous stretch of coast, has been lit for the first time in more than 20 years.

Bidding to have the highest beacons was Somerset where six hot air balloons provided a sound and light show from Solsbury Hill, in Batheaston.

The southernmost beacon in the British Isles was lit at Jersey's Elizabeth Castle.

Beacons were also lit on the Channel Islands of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm, Brecqhou, Jethou and Lihou.

The Queen's Pageantmaster, Bruno Peek, said he had been "overwhelmed" by the response to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Beacons event.

He said: "Our aim was to light 2,012 beacons because 2,012 have never been lit before, but by the end of the night we will have over 4,000 - that's truly amazing."

See all the latest Diamond Jubilee news and features at bbc.co.uk/diamondjubilee

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