Queen's Platinum Jubilee: Herts and Soul choir, bagpiper and bugler entertain hundreds at beacon event in Castle Gardens as celebrations get under way in Bishop's Stortford
Several hundred people came together in Castle Gardens on Thursday evening (June 2) for a beacon event to start official celebrations in Bishop's Stortford for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
It was one of some 1,500 Jubilee Beacons lit by communities, charities and different groups throughout the UK and Commonwealth to herald Elizabeth II's historic 70-year reign.
Others were lit in Sawbridgeworth and Stansted and nearby villages including Birchanger, Little Hallingbury, Clavering and Sheering.
The Queen herself attended the principal beacon event at Windsor, touching a globe to begin the ceremony. She illuminated the globe, symbolically sending a chain of lights from her castle home to Buckingham Palace, where Prince William watched as a sculpture, the Tree of Trees, was bathed in light.
In Stortford, at 9pm, a 45-minute ceremony organised by the town council, featuring music and spoken tributes to Her Majesty, was held in mild temperatures and dusky light.
The master of ceremonies was town crier Carole Williams, who lent a light air to proceedings from the steps of the war memorial, which was bathed in red, white and blue lights.
She gave a welcome to the sizeable crowd and repeated the royal proclamation that she had uttered in Market Square seven hours earlier.
Carole introduced the mayor of Bishop's Stortford, Cllr Dave Anderson, who is less than four weeks into his term, and Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Suzy Harvey, of Wickham Hall. They gave short addresses commending the Queen's service.
Music was provided by the 40-voice community choir Herts and Soul under the direction of Susie Savage and Peter Clayton, accompanied by a three-piece band.
They sang The Rhythm of Life from the musical Sweet Charity, You'll Never Walk Alone from Carousel, Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, a new number Song for the Commonwealth – written especially to mark the monarch's milestone – and God Save the Queen.
On the other side of the gardens, Cambridge bagpiper Roy Sloane performed Diu Regnare – Latin for 'long to reign' – which was written especially for the historic occasion by Stuart Liddell. Roy has played the bagpipes for some 30 years, which includes time as a piper with the 1st Battalion The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), and has performed for most of the current Royal Family and at the White House for American president George Bush.
Beside him was the less experience but equally talented 18-year-old bugler Owen Lee, who is doing English, German and music A-levels at The Bishop's Stortford High School as he seeks a place at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He performed the 15-second Allegretto.
There is a long tradition of celebrating royal jubilees, weddings and coronations with the lighting of a chain of beacons. In 1897, beacons were lit to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. In 1977, 2002 and 2012, they commemorated the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees of The Queen, and in 2016 Her Majesty’s 90th birthday.