Thousands turn out to light up the skies of south Lakeland

JUBILEE beacons lit up the skies of south Lakeland last night as thousands joined in with a historic national tradition.

Once used as a signal of communication, the beacon chain has now become a symbol of unity, and has been the central point of many notable occasions and anniversaries.

And more than 4,200 were illuminated across the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Commonwealth and overseas UK territories, to commemorate sixty years since the Queen’s accession.

On the summit of Orrest Head, Windermere, shone one of the 74 glowing in Cumbria.

Town councillor, Adrian Legge, said: “About two hundred people crowded onto the viewpoint from where more than twenty beacons could be seen, including those on Scafell Pike, Coniston Old Man and the Howgills.

“There was a rousing shout of ‘The Queen, God Bless Her’ to mark the lighting.”

Around 75 people congregated on the top of Coniston Old Man, including members of the MRT. Parish council chair, David Coxon, said: “People had been taking up bits of the beacon all week, so a fair bit of effort had gone into doing it.

“We could see lots of others from where we were, including those on Scafell, Skiddaw and some in Yorkshire.”

Many beacons were also lit across north Lancashire, and more than one hundred people walked to the top of Warton Crag to join in the ritual.

Helen Barker, parish councillor, said: “The beacon hasn’t been lit since 1988, when people were celebrating the 400th anniversary of the sighting of the Spanish Armada off the coastline of England.

“We had such a good response to the royal wedding events so wanted to get involved with the Jubilee too. But as the beacon hadn’t been lit for so long villagers had to get together to straighten it first.”

The national anthem was sung as the beacon was lit at 10.15pm – the time specified by Buckingham Palace. And residents and visitors then looked out at more than ten other beacons and watched fireworks over Lancaster and the Fylde coast.

Fiona Graham-Spicer, of Warton, observed the spectacle with her husband and friends. She said: “It’s wonderful to see much of the village, and those neighboring Warton, out together.

“People have been lighting these beacons for centuries so it has such historical connations, which is why we wanted to be part of it tonight.”

Her friend, Christine White, had come from Yealand Conyers to join in. She said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity to feel part of the national celebrations.

“I am surprised at how many people are here but it’s lovely to see, and we are lucky to have such an idyllic setting.”