Beacon Lighting, 2 June, 9.45pm, Epsom Downs
Britain has a long history of beacon lighting spanning many hundreds of years.
Beacons were originally lit to give warning to local people of the approach of an enemy. They were sited on high hills, usually as part of a defensive signal system. The signal was given by smoke during the day and light by night.
A beacon chain has now become a symbol of unity across towns, borders, countries and continents and is often the central point of focus for any outdoor gathering or celebration.In 1897 beacons were lit nationally to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. In 1977 and 2002 beacons were lit to celebrate The Queen's Silver and Golden Jubilees.
A new permanent beacon has now been installed on Epsom Downs and will be lit for the first time to mark the Platinum Jubilee.
The Epsom Downs Beacon will be lit as part of a coordinated beacon chain with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Anchor Chain being lit at 9.30pm and the Beacons along Hadrian’s Wall lit at 10pm. All other Beacons throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man will be lit at 9.45pm. Beacons in the Commonwealth Countries and United Kingdom Overseas Territories will also be lit at the appropriate local time.
Epsom Downs Racecourse are holding a community event on the evening of Thursday 2 June. The community event will end with the opportunity to see the lighting of the Jubilee Beacon.
At the Beacon lighting students from Laines Theatre Arts will join thousands of community choirs across all 54 commonwealth nations to sing ‘A Life filled with Grace’ which has been specially written and composed for the Jubilee by Lucy Keily from Australia and Vincent Atueyi Chinemelu from Nigeria. The event will also have a piper, Craig Mclean in the uniform of a Commonwealth regiment, playing a South African folk song 'Sarie Marais' which he previously played for the Queen in South Africa and Penny Moss of the Epsom and Ewell Silver Band playing the fanfare 'Majesty'.
The Epsom Downs Jubilee Beacon is a joint Initiative between Go Epsom, The Epsom & Walton Downs Conservators, the Jockey Club and Epsom & Ewell Borough Council.