AS the Queen prepares to celebrate her 90th birthday, preparations are underway across the country for what looks set to be a moment which will be remembered in generations to come.
As part of the festivities, a series of beacons will be lit across the country. In Leeds, these will be in Kippax and the city centre.
Kippax Parish Councillor Allison Payne, who co-incidentally turns 50 on the same day, said they were looking forward to the event, with the council providing free refreshments.
“They’re lighting the first beacon in London and then they will be lit across the country. We’re honoured to be taking part. We have Kippax Brass Band, who will be playing the national anthem and Happy Birthday.”
The event will take place from 8pm at Manor Garth Hill (also known as Cheney Basin), next to St Mary’s Church and will be attended by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and guests.
There will also be a service at Leeds Minster on Thursday, with music by Morley schools and the Minster Choir Drighlington Brass Band. A beacon will be lit at 8.45pm after this service by The Lord Mayor of Leeds.
Schools across the country will also mark the occasion.
The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year - her actual birthday on April 21 and her official birthday on a Saturday in June - this year on June 11.
As part of the celebrations, pub opening hours will be extended until 1am on both days.
The Queen has been a regular visitor to Leeds, as our archive pictures show. In July 2002, she visited Harewood House and the set of Emmerdale and she as part of her Silver Jubillee in 1977, she waved to crowds at Elland Road. Even before she was crowned, she visited Leeds Civic Hall, as Princess Elizabeth in 1949, three years before she acceded to the throne.
Other beacons to be lit in Leeds include at Woodhall Hills in Calverley, which will also begin at 8.30pm.
It is estimated that over 1,000 beacons will be lit throughout the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will invite Her Majesty The Queen to light the Principal Beacon at Windsor Castle. The Army Cadet Force will also be taking special gas fuelled beacons to the top of the four highest peaks in the UK at Ben Nevis, Mount Snowden, Scafell Pike and Slieve Donard.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Judith Chapman said: “It is an absolute privilege and honour to be able to gather with the people of Leeds outside the minster this Thursday as we celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday by lighting a beacon.
“The event at the minster is one of a number of beacon lighting ceremonies to be held across the city on Thursday on what promises to be a really memorable occasion.”
The Light in Leeds is also pulling out all the stops. On Saturday April 23, a free street party will be hosted within the centre’s courtyard from 1pm to 3pm, with entertainment including a jazz band, juggling jester and a banquet of nibbles. Food will include complimentary Mexican eats by Barburitto, bagels by Bagel Nash, plus old fashion lemonade and sweet treats. Italian restaurant Prezzo will also be rustling up traditional pizzas - attendees can either take a seat at the table or sit down on blankets in a special picnic area, to watch.