Let the party start as Westcountry celebrates Queen's 60-year reign
The Westcountry is preparing to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with hundreds of street parties and a trail of flaming beacons which will light up the night sky from Land's End to London.
An unpaid army of organisers is busy hanging red, white and blue bunting and applying the finishing touches to plans for more than 250 street parties in Devon and Cornwall as communities prepare to mark the Queen's 60-year reign.
Central to the festivities is a Royal themed-take on an idea hatched in the region by the Eden Project three years ago – the Big Lunch – in a bid to bring neighbours together. Organisers estimate as many as six million people will take part in the Royal Big Lunch on Sunday before gathering around TV sets to watch the Queen lead a flotilla of more than 1,000 boats in a pageant along the Thames.
Musical accompaniment will be provided by Plymouth's Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, who will follow the Royal barge in a separate vessel. Six buglers from the HMS Raleigh-based band will act as herald trumpeters, sounding a fanfare as the Royal party arrives, and performing each time the Queen passes under one of the many bridges.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
On Monday night, following a televised concert outside Buckingham Palace, more than 130 beacons will be lit across the region, blazing a trail to the capital, where Her Majesty will light the final fire.
Peter Stewart, campaigns director for the Eden Project and director of the Big Jubilee Lunch, said he hoped people would "bury their British reserve" and join in the fun.
"There has never been a better excuse to find a neighbour and sit down on Sunday to raise a glass or two – it's never too late," he added.
Penzance, Truro and Newquay are just some of the towns hosting major events on Sunday in Cornwall, where some 96 streets have been closed for community gatherings. But small communities are getting in on the act, such as the village of Tregony, on the Roseland peninsula, which will bring young and old together for a unique day of celebration. A commemorative seat will be unveiled to mark 50 years of the seniors' club by 94-year-old founding member Margaret Barnicoat.
Devon, which has seen more requests made to light beacons than any other county and has at least 160 official street parties planned, will also become a giant celebration for the day.
Tavistock will host a weekend of events, including a Party in the Meadows on Sunday, followed by the lighting of its Jubilee Beacon at the Pimple, a folly built on high ground overlooking Dartmoor's Whitchurch Down at 10.15pm on Sunday.
In Topsham, near Exeter, a table stretching the entire length of the main street will be set for an expected 2,500 diners.
And the chart-topping Military Wives Choir will raise the rafters at a service of celebration to in Plymouth. The Westcountry-based outfit, formed from partners of Westcountry servicemen, will perform on Sunday in the Minster Church of St Andrew at 10.30am.