HEDON marked the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II last night with the lighting of the Hedon Beacon. Lit at 7.30pm (Thursday 21st April 2016), the firewood stashed in the beacon was ignited electronically sending black smoke into the air before the first flames eventually showed.
The tribute was a personal one from Hedon’s civic leader. As the 669th Mayor of Hedon and loyal to the Queen, Councillor Neil Black was dressed in his full mayoral robes and accompanied by the Mayoress Mrs Linda Black and the Mace Bearer John Dawson.
The Mayor felt it important to mark the occasion in this way and give the Royal birthday civic recognition.
Photos: Thanks to Glenn Stallard, Cllrs. Sarah Rommell and Colin Billany.
Some controversy: The event was not an organised public celebration; the suggestion to light the beacon came too late to Hedon Town Council (in the first week of March) in order for them to make the necessary arrangements (i.e. organise road closures, marshalling and first aid cover). However, it was deemed important that Hedon marked the celebration despite this, so the event was arranged as a personal tribute of the Mayor.
John Dawson, in his role as Town Crier, was out in Hedon across lunchtime on the Queen’s Birthday, on behalf of the Mayor, proclaiming the Royal birthday. Some residents heard about the lighting of the beacon through this. The Hedon Blog had also run a story: Beacon lit to mark queens birthday. But generally, the beacon lighting was necessarily a low-key event. This inevitably left some residents disappointed about missing it.
Over twenty people complained on the Hedon Blog Facebook Page last night about their lack of knowledge of the event, with many indicating that they and their families would have loved to have attended had they known.
This public disappointment, with people expressing the view that the council should have advertised the event much better, reveals the affection that people have for the Queen and a willingness to express this in public. However, the dilemma here is that if the council had belatedly advertised the event, it could have attracted crowds that would have made the event untenable: A catch 22 situation.
Hedon Blog view: Residents are likely to be pleased that the town was involved in the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations – albeit not to the extent that many would have liked. However, it is hoped that in the future when the Hedon Beacon is lit, the necessary advanced planning is considered in a timely fashion, and any events take place with the full participation of and an invitation issued to local residents.