Beacons light up the sky as Diamond Jubilee celebrations continue

SHINING LIGHT  Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, lights the Jubilee Beacon at Fort Widley on Portsdown Hill.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (121947-6789)
SHINING LIGHT Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, lights the Jubilee Beacon at Fort Widley on Portsdown Hill. Picture: Malcolm Wells (121947-6789)

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CROWDS turned out in their hundreds to see five stunning Diamond Jubilee beacons light up the night sky.

The beacons at All Saints Church, in Catherington, Southsea Castle, Portsdown Hill, Speltham Hill in Hambledon and Stansted House were part of 4,000 that were lit up yesterday across the world.

LIT Cllr Lee Hunt and Cllr. Margaret Adair with Jenny Bennett (71) and her husband Ken Bennett (82) from 'Southsea, who lit the beacon at Southsea Castle.  Picture: Sarah Standing )121949-7908)

LIT Cllr Lee Hunt and Cllr. Margaret Adair with Jenny Bennett (71) and her husband Ken Bennett (82) from 'Southsea, who lit the beacon at Southsea Castle. Picture: Sarah Standing )121949-7908)

The final beacon was lit by the Queen in London at the end of the Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace.

It marked the end of another joyful day of national celebrations.

Cllr Lee Hunt, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, attended the spectacular beacon lighting at Southsea Castle.

He said: ‘The beacons are fantastic and was a wonderful event that tops the whole of the celebrations for the last three days.

‘Everyone has had a fantastic time.

‘I’m pleased with the hard work from council staff, they have worked non-stop.

‘The beacons are a fitting way to round off everything and I don’t think we will see the likes of it again for the next few decades.

‘I hope people feel they have been involved in an astonishing part of Britain’s history.’

Those attending the beacon lighting at Fort Widley on Portsdown Hill were treated to a fire juggler and a fireworks display.

Meanwhile, the Jubilee spirit was in full swing at the Bath Lane recreation ground in Fareham, where a commemorative plaque was unveiled by Cllr Connie Hockley to mark its Queen Elizabeth II field status.

The day featured a range of activities for families, including a bouncy castle, cricket and football games, and live music.

Becky Wilson, from Wickham, attended the event with her family, including nephew Elliott Lunson, seven, and nieces Eden Lunson, four, and Evie Medlow, four.

She said: ‘It’s fantastic to come down to Bath Lane and see all the lovely events. There was so much to do for the children.

‘It’s important to make the most of these opportunities – it’s really important as a community and local residents to support these events. People have put a lot of effort in, it’s only right we see what’s going on.’

Paul, 43, and Karen Hunter, 44. organised a street party in Keats Close, Whiteley.

The whole close turned out to enjoy the celebrations, which included face painting, basketball, music and a barbecue.

Mrs Hunter said: ‘Everyone knows everybody in this close and it’s nice to be patriotic.’

Residents in Woodrush Crescent, Locks Heath, celebrated the Jubilee by raising money for the Ocean ward at Southampton General Hospital at their street party.

Tracy Cope, 34, said: ‘It was a nice way for the residents to get to know each other.

‘I know a couple of people whose children have been there so I thought we’d hold a raffle for them as well.

‘We’ve raised over £36 which is not bad for a small street to get together.’

The party was in full swing at Eversley Crescent, in Leigh Park, as residents enjoyed a DJ, buffet food and a barbecue.

And there was an abundance of entertainment for the kids, with an inflatable assault course, bouncy castle, face painting and lots of games and activities.

Organiser Sherryanne Thomson, 37, said: ‘It was fantastic.

‘Everyone loved it and the kids had a great time.

‘It was great to see all the neighbours out together because we don’t often get a chance to meet up like that.’

Traditional races, games, fancy dress and face painting, were held at a street party in Alexandra Park, Hilsea.

The event was organised by residents on Northern Parade. Elaine Woolger, 63, said: ‘It was wonderful to get everyone together and it gave the children a chance to try out some of the old fashioned games that they don’t play in schools any more.’