CROWDS of people gathered in the town centre last week for a beacon lighting ceremony to start Woking’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

At 9.45pm last Thursday evening, Mayor of Woking Cllr Saj Hussain lit the borough’s beacon, as thousands of others flared across the UK and Commonwealth in tribute to The Queen.

“I can’t think of a greater honour or more memorable start to my mayoral year,” he said. “As Head of Nation, The Queen acts as a focus for national identity, unity and pride; gives a sense of stability and continuity; officially recognises success and excellence; and supports the ideal of voluntary service. She’s an inspiration to us all.”

The ceremony in Jubilee Square featured solo performances from piper, Elysée Spacie, and bugler, Jess Fowler, who both attend Gordon’s School at West End.

Elysée said: “I feel honoured to be part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Playing this very special piece, Diu Regnare, on the bagpipes is the highlight of my piping journey.

“I’m really looking forward to the event and feel exceptionally proud and excited that I’m also representing Gordon’s and this will create memories for my family and future generations.”

To officially announce the lighting of the beacon, Jess performed a specially written bugle call, entitled Majesty.

A community choir – drawn from members of Woking Choral Society, Woking Community Choir, Genesis Chorale, Epworth Choir, Mosaic Chamber Choir, Octavian Singers, and Woking Gospel Choir – led by Caroline Pearce from Christ Church, performed A Life lived with Grace, and local singer Simon Greenhill helped lead the evening’s celebrations, including the crowd’s rendition of Sweet Caroline.

Woking Borough Council’s portfolio holder for living well, Cllr Ellen Nicholson, said: “The Platinum Jubilee inspired events and activities continue well into the summer including live performances on the bandstand in Woking Park and an illustrated talk at the Nova Cinema about how Woking has changed during The Queen’s reign.

“The outdoor screen in Jubilee Square will also remain in situ for summer, showing both the Wimbledon Championships and Commonwealth Games, plus a number of free family films.”

* See the 9 June edition of the News & Mail for pic spreads of many more local jubilee events – in shops now