By Connor Steel
HUNDREDS of residents came together at Portchester Castle on Thursday evening to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in a sight to beyond; with a speculator evening of fun, entertainment and celebrations concluded by the lighting of the town’s Jubilee Beacon from the top of the English Heritage Site.
Organised by Fareham Borough Council and sponsored by Everyone Active, crowds began arriving at the castle from 5pm; flags, bunting and picnic baskets a regular sight as people settled down to enjoy the festivities on a lovely warm and sunny evening despite forecasts of rain in the build-up
Making the most of the open spaces Everyone Active held a series of activities for children and young adults; including touch rugby, tug of war, an obstacle course and even traditional egg & spoon race. Prizes were awarded to the winners of individual and family competitions, whilst face painting was provided by two local businesses from across the borough in an extra layer of party atmosphere.
Musical entertainment was provided in the form of a packed timetable; which included performances from Fine Voice Academy, Bodyrox Productions, TS Tenacity, and the Lindy Club throughout the evening. The Rose & Thistle Pipes & Drums both started and ended the action on a specifically created main stage, alongside British themed songs from the Portsmouth Military Wives Choirs.
Food, drinks, and other business stalls were regularly visited by the majority of those in attendance, with the crowds growing as the evening developed towards its climax. But instead of creating discontent, this only boosted the sense of occasion and togetherness of residents who were enjoying the celebrations that some thought would never arrive or they would never get a chance to see.
This feeling of togetherness after two years hit by Covid-19 wasn’t lost on local Fareham MP and Attorney General Suella Braverman, who posted on Twitter from the event just after 7pm. She said: “Amazing atmosphere right now at Portchester Castle for Fareham’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon lighting event. Music, singing, activities for the children and great cupcakes Boozy Bakers!”.
And at 9:45pm came the climax of the afternoon with the lighting of the Portchester Jubilee Beacon from the top of the ramparts, which was met by loud cheers and applause as it shined against the fading light as sunset arrived under clear skies. As the beacon took effect it brought Fareham and Portchester in line with 3,500 similar events across the country, including lightings in Stokes Bay and Lee-on-the-Solent.
Accompanied by an edition of Dui Regnare, a tune created to honour this occasion, this small mark of unity with the rest of the UK proved to be the perfect conclusion to an evening that will last long in the memory of those in attendance; with high profile local names including Leader of the Council Sean Woodward, Fareham Mayor Michael Ford and his wife Mayoress Anne Ford all being seen.
Clips and photographs from this event can be seen on the Fareham Borough Council social media channels, which broadcast live videos from the stage and Jubilee Beacon lighting. Readers can also see details for other events to celebrate the Jubilee and beyond by visiting their designated page: Events (fareham.gov.uk).
PICTURED BY FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL: Overhead shot of Portchester Castle grounds as hundreds of residents come together to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on Thursday evening.