Hundreds watch Queen’s beacon lighting

Ian and Michele Binks with Ian's mum Hazel at the lighting of the beacon at Clitheroe Castle to commemorate HM The Queen's birthday.

Ian and Michele Binks with Ian's mum Hazel at the lighting of the beacon at Clitheroe Castle to commemorate HM The Queen's birthday.

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Hundreds gathered at Clitheroe Castle last night (Thursday) to watch a beacon be lit to commemorate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

Ribble Valley Mayor Coun. Bridget Hilton braved the blustery conditions to light the beacon on the castle ramparts watched by around 300 members of the public.

Royalists wearing red, white and blue, flag waving youngsters and civic dignitaries gathered beneath to celebrate the historic occasion.

And just before the beacon was lit, Clitheroe poet Maureen Fenton recited a specially written moving poem entitled “Living the Vow”, which highlighted pivotal moments in the Queen’s extraordinary life.

This was followed by a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” as the beacon was lit by the 65-strong Clitheroe Pop Choir.

The beacon was one of 600 being lit across the country, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to mark the Queen’s birthday. They were lit in a chain starting in London, with the Clitheroe Castle beacon lit at 7-30 pm.

Royalist Ian Binks was one of those at the beacon lighting. A former “Blues and Royals”, who act as the Queen’s bodyguards, Mr Binks was at the historic event with his wife Michele. The couple, who live in Gisburn, were joined by Ian’s mum Hazel who had travelled over from Garstang to see the beacon be lit.

“We are huge Royalists,” said Ian, “and it’s something which will never happen again.”

St James’ Brownies were also at the castle. Luckily Thursday evening is when the pack meet and, for a special treat, their leaders escorted them up to the castle for the event.

A host of civic dignitaries were also present at this historic occasion including Ribble Valley Borough Councillors, the council’s chief executive Marshal Scott, the leader of the council Coun. Stuart Hirst, Clitheroe Town Mayor Coun. Sue Knox and other town councillors.

Whalley Coun. Joyce Holgate, speaking at the beacon lighting, said: “It’s really great to see so many people turn out.”

Coun. Holgate had already celebrated the Queen’s birthday that day at a special party held at St Nicholas’ Church, Sabden, during which a specially made cake was cut.

Meanwhile, residents at Abbeyfield Castle View, who are mostly in their nineties, raised a glass of fizz on Thursday to toast the Queen’s good health before lunch.

For a picture special and more on this story see Thursday’s Clitheroe Advertiser.