Beacon starts jubilee celebrations

Published: 03 June 2022

Banbury’s platinum jubilee celebrations got off to a stunning start on Thursday 2nd June with the ceremonial lighting of the town beacon.
More than 3,000 people gathered in Spiceball Park for the special occasion and Banbury was one of more than 2,000 cities, towns and villages across the country to light civic bonfires.
The lighting of the beacon came at the end of a fun evening that included a musical trip down memory lane.
Local singer Beau Norton (aka art shop owner Barry Whitehouse) revived songs that were popular in 1952 – the year Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll began her history-making 70-year reign.
A wide selection of eats and drinks were available as the crowd enjoyed sing-along sessions and relaxed in the unique atmosphere of the event.
The beacon ceremony started with bagpiper Richard Jasper playing Diu Regnare (Latin for ‘Long to Reign’) and buglers following on with the call ‘Majesty’ which was specially written for the jubilee by veteran army bugler Andrew Carlisle.
Beacons everywhere were scheduled to be lit at 9.45pm and Banbury was spot on the dot.
Banbury High Steward Sir Tony Baldry, accompanied by town mayor Jayne Strangwood, introduced the lighting of the beacon and Sir Tony called on the crowd for three rousing cheers for the Queen.
Sir Tony said: “It is a wonderful turnout and it seems the whole of Banbury has come to the first of four days of celebrations to recognise 70 years of dedicated service by the Queen.”
Cllr Strangwood added: “It is a tremendous honour to be mayor at such a marvellous and historic time in this country’s history. I’m thrilled to be part of the celebrations.”
She continued: “Tonight has been a wonderful start to a series of fabulous jubilee events and I’m looking forward to all of them. Party in the Park on Saturday will be an event to remember and Sunday’s Big Lunch will be great for the kids.”
A fire eater and a firework display finished the evening in spectacular style.