A joyful Island was ‘put on the map’ after a weekend of pageants and parties to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Beacons from Culver Down in the east all the way to The Needles in the west lit up the skies on Thursday night. They were just some of the 1,500 which blazed a trail across the world, with the Bembridge beacon given special dispensation to be lit ahead of all the others to be shown on national television.
Then, on Sunday, the Island was represented in the Queen’s Pageant in London with the Ventnor Comic Jazz Band and Shademakers, Ryde, performing in their colourful heraldic beast-themed costumes, being cheered from Big Ben to Buckingham Palace.
Ventnor senior band member, Mike Kullander, said: “We helped to put the Island on the map; it was an honour to be there. We were formed in 1894 and, incredibly, this was our first mainland appearance.
“It was fantastic; we were clapped and cheered along the route and people joined in singing to our music. We even saw a few Isle of Wight flags along the way and gave them a wave.”
Towns, villages and streets celebrated in style with parties and bunting bringing communities together for this one-in-a-lifetime occasion.
A fitting finale was the service of celebration held at Newport Minster on Sunday evening. More than 350 people packed into the church for the service which was led by Rev Emma Cooksey and included an address by the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Frost.
Voices of Wight sang a beautiful setting of the anthem, Crimond, and Queensgate Primary School Choir (winners at the Isle of Wight Music, Dance and Drama Festival 2022) gave an inspiring rendition of ‘Rise up and Serve’.
Ileana Taylor-Burns, a student from Cowes Enterprise College, read the words spoken by the Queen on her Coronation Day and Anne Springman MBE, a senior citizen with clear memories of Coronation Day, read a poem ‘Coronation’ by Pam Ayres.
HM’s Lord-Lieutenant, Susie Sheldon, said: “It was a wonderful weekend and the weather was kind until the last minute. I attended a huge variety of events and thoroughly enjoyed myself and hope everyone else did as well. It was a fitting tribute to an amazing lady.”