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Guildford’s Beacon Lit to Form Part of a Global Chain of Jubilee Celebration

Published on: 3 Jun, 2022
Updated on: 3 Jun, 2022

Guildford’s beacon being lit on The Mount as viewed by those at the ceremony at the cathedral. Photo Grant Pritchard

By Martin Giles

Guildford’s Beacon was lit last night as part of a national and international chain of beacons to signal and celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

As the sun set, spectators gathered at Guildford Cathedral to watch a short civic ceremony from 9.30pm, including a piper, bugler and choir performing music specially commissioned for the Jubilee. Please see GBC video clip below…

Among those attending the ceremony were Guildford’s Mayor Dennis Booth, his wife Mary the Mayoress, Deputy Lord Lieutenant Caroline Breckell, Lord Onslow, Angela Richardson MP, council leader Joss Bigmore and the town crier David Peters.

A crowd also gathered by the beacon on The Mount to watch it being lit at 9.45pm. The beacon has been used to mark other similar celebrations including the 400th anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1988, thought to be the first occasion the current beacon was used.

The George Abbot School Choir performing the specially composed music for the occasion. Photo Grant Pritchard

Beacons were lit throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, UK Overseas Territories and the Commonwealth.

The Queen began the ceremony by touching a globe representing the Commonwealth nations, symbolically sending a chain of lights from Windsor Castle to Buckingham Palace. Please see BBC clip below…

There is a long tradition of celebrating Royal Jubilees, weddings and coronations with the lighting of beacons. A beacon chain, once used as a tool for communication, has now become a symbol of unity across towns, borders, countries and continents and is often the central point of focus for any outdoor gathering or celebration.

Piper Isabelle Shepheard from Gordon’s School West End playing “Diu Regnare” and bugler Simon Persin from the Friary Band playing “Majesty”. Photos Grant Pritchard

In 1897, beacons were lit to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. In 1977, 2002 and 2012, beacons commemorated the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees of the Queen, and in 2016 her 90th birthday.

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