Although the Platinum Jubilee weekend is now only a day away, the national programme of events to celebrate the Queen’s reign has been under way for some time now.
From the Platinum Jubilee Pudding competition to the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, there are many events and initiatives taking place throughout the year to mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.
And during the extended bank-holiday weekend itself, there will be a few key events taking place in London, including the Trooping of the Color ceremony, a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Platinum Party at the Palace as well as the Jubilee Pageant itself.
The pomp and majesty of these is something we have very much come to expect and appreciate, but there are also events that are more informal and embrace the latest in digital technology.
The Party at the Palace in particular will see 22,000 people attending, including 5,000 tickets for key workers and 10,000 allocated through a public ballot.
Open to everyone and live-streamed online, the Jubilee Pageant is likely to be the most ambitious and spectacular part of the celebrations.
With 10,000 people from across the country and Commonwealth involved, featuring displays from marching bands through to circus acts, it will showcase seven decades of progress and change during the Queen’s historic reign.
But celebrating in our communities is still one of the most important parts of the Jubilee – the opportunity for people to come together and enjoy a moment of appreciation, particularly after the isolation and difficulties of the pandemic.
Big Jubilee Lunches will be taking place in cities, towns and villages across the country, with millions of us expected to join in.
Some of the local events include the Big Jubilee Lunch being held in Alton’s Public Gardens, with people invited to take along a picnic and enjoy performances from the Alton Concert Band.
The Shed in Whitehill & Bordon will also host a Big Jubilee Lunch, with live entertainment and food on offer, with numerous fetes and street parties across East Hampshire, including the family music festival (G-Fest) in Greatham.
The three-day Spring Festival in Petersfield, with live music and food aplenty, is another highlight and a great opportunity to visit the town center with lots of family activities on offer.
As the first community event of the weekend, the principal beacon will be lit in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 2, ahead of thousands more across the UK and overseas territories, including each capital city in the Commonwealth.
Local beacon sites are expected to be lit in Alton, Liss, Four Marks, Worldham and Headley, as well as at Butser Hill, and each one an opportunity to be part of this extraordinary celebration.
We have so much to be thankful for in the service of the Queen, carried out with her no-nonsense approach, good humor and great personal sense of duty.
Although this is still very much exam season, and many young people will be focused on preparing for those, I hope individuals and families across East Hampshire are able to enjoy some fun over the bank holiday, and to share in the community-led events and activities.
It is worth checking local papers as well as local parish and town council websites and social media pages for the latest updates, and Hampshire County Council also has news on larger organised events across the region.
I am sure in East Hampshire we will, as ever, have celebrations among the best of British.