Diamond Jubilee: Thousands of beacons are lit around UK


A huge fireworks display followed the Queen lighting the last of over 4,000 beacons

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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.

Beacon at Mow Cop Castle 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.

Diamond Jubilee beacons

  • About 4,500 beacons were lit in the UK, Commonwealth and overseas territories
  • The Queen lit the National Beacon near Buckingham Palace
  • Overseas beacons were lit in countries including Canada, Australia and Kenya
  • Two types of beacons were used: Bonfires and the church tower beacon fuelled by bottled gas
  • Beacons were lit on Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in and for 1977's Silver Jubilee

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.

Jubilee beacons pageant master Bruno Peek explains the history and symbolism of beacons

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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  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    88.Jaymos - "....The Olympics is a great event for people with money and companies who wish to cover our media with olympic related ads real people wont see it"

    And that makes it different from the jubilweewee how exactly? Milliosn of tickets sold to Brits, adverts all over the media trying to cash in, millions in costs...they both sound very much alike to me

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    The country coming together for the Jubilee is fantastic and lovely to watch thank you for your coverage. I only have one complaint and that is that people are mentioning the Olympics as a great event for the UK people and I would argue that this is untrue. The Olympics is a great event for people with money and companies who wish to cover our media with olympic related ads real people wont see it

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    82.allotmentgolfer - ".....The Queen still dedicates her life to the Country at an age most people take things slower...."

    What else would she do with her time?

    Unlike us "mere mortals" she doesn't have to do any proper work, nor the washing, shopping, cooking, cleaning etc.....

    ...she is so lazy she's got nothing else to do.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    It is a joyous moment to hear the band play & the crowds cheer in party mood as the ship is launched but it becomes rather perplexing when that same joy is celebrated as the ship is sinking unless of course your'e British. Having said that, even this Republican has great respect & admiration for HM the Queen for 60 years of faultless conduct & dignity the likes of which we won't see again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    When are the Lib-Cons going to tell us all how much it cost, we would like to know as Camerons paymasters recon the countrys broke.

    But as we know Cameron will put spin on it,telling us how much money it has generated just like Coes Olympics paid for by tax payers ripped off by business


Comments 5 of 89


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