Beacon-lighting ceremony in honour of Queen's Platinum Jubilee wows crowds on Lawe Top in South Shields

A dazzling and emotional beacon-lighting ceremony wowed the crowds as people gathered together to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in South Tyneside.

Thursday, 2nd June 2022, 11:53 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd June 2022, 12:44 am

The lighting of the beacon on the Lawe Top in South Shields concluded the first day of the four-day bank holiday weekend of celebrations honouring the Queen’s 70 years.

More than 3,500 beacons were lit across the UK and throughout the Commonwealth as part of events to mark the jubilee.

In South Tyneside, sea cadets passed the flame along a flotilla of boats on the River Tyne from Hebburn Pontoon to Littlehaven Beach.

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Beacons were lit in South Tyneside as tribute to the Queen across the UK and Commonwealth.

The flame was then be carried up to The Eye public art feature on the Harbour Drive Promenade where 90-year-old Korean Army veteran Joseph Smith Bailes, who served with the 1st Duke of Wellington Regiment, lit a beacon.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay then lit the main beacon on the Lawe Top.

The event included music from local choir Choirmaster, Westoe Brass Band, a trumpeter and piper Major Paul Hamilton.

The beacon alight on the Lawe Top.

A pair of stilt-walkers in the form of ‘living lampposts’ also entertained the crowds, posing for pictures and delivering ad hoc comedy routines in French accents.

The beacon-lighting was also part of a string of flames lit along Hadrian’s Wall.

Customs House director Ray Spencer, who provided commentary at the events at the seafront, praised the celebrations and their lasting impact.

"It’s been an absolutely special, special time for everybody who was here,” he said. “Young people here will remember this night in another 70 years.”

The beacon alight on the Lawe Top.

The beacon was lit just minutes before the heavens opened, crowds making their way home in the downpour, still waving flags, their spirits not dampened.

And across the borough all manner of celebrations took place from public events to parties in homes and gardens.

In Harton, the whole village became one big party, buzzing with crowds and decked out in bunting, flags and cardboard cut outs of Queen’s Guards. The event was organised by the Harton Hub group of traders and raised money for good causes.

TS Collingtwood Sea Cadets carry the flame to be handed to veteran Joe Smith-Bailes to light the first of two beacons in South Shields to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

Events continue in the village with a plant and book sale at St Peter’s Church on Friday, June 3, and a village fete on Saturday, June 4, with a barbecue, stalls, games, bouncy castle, ice cream van, donkey rides, face painting, cakes and a beer tent.

There will also be competitions for coronation cupcakes, best 1950s style, flowers, and a portrait of the Queen. See stpetersharton.org.uk for details.

They are just part of scores of events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including dozens of street parties planned across the borough.

Public events include a service of thanksgiving and celebration at St Hilda’s Church on Saturday, June 4, at 12noon, where all are welcome and the service will be followed by refreshments in St Hilda’s Visitors’ Centre.

Also on Saturday, there will be a number of performances by the Wheelabouts at Arbeia Roman Fort, where the group will bring to life the story of Boudicca and her Celtic tribe at 12noon, 1.30pm and 3pm.

TS Collingtwood Sea Cadets carry the flame to be handed to veteran Joe Smith-Bailes to light the first of two beacons in South Shields to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
Veteran Joe Smith-Bailes lights the first of two beacons in South Shields to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
Veteran Joe Smith-Bailes lights the first of two beacons in South Shields to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
The 'Living Lamp Posts' stilt-walkers entertained the waiting crowds.
Lighting the beacon on the Lawe.
The boat landing the flame.
Living Lamp Posts.
The lit beacon.
The piper.
Crowds gathered.
Crowds gathered.
Crowds gathered.
Crowds gathered.
Crowds gathered.