How Ashburton celebrated the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II
What a fantastic and historic Platinum Jubilee Celebration that was! An extraordinary year in which to be the Portreeve or Bailiff of this historic town and a part of this wonderful community.
The dust is just settling after the last party and it's around this time that we begin to reminisce over the events of the last few days - particularly given that this is the first event of this scale in the town since the start of the pandemic. It has been a wonderful week but I think we're all glad we are able to put it behind us an relax after a hectic few days!
The long weekend started got off to a spectacular start on the morning of Thursday 2nd June with the opening of the a floral celebration “All the Jubilees” at St Andrews Church. The display could be seen throughout the long weekend and created a fantastic setting for the civic service on Sunday.
We were entertained by Rockafella 4
In the afternoon we were entertained by the Rockafella 4 as we ate our picnic lunch in the garden of the Legion Hut in Blogishay Lane.
The evening was spent at a reception for the Floral Celebration and then celebrating with our own Street Party whilst the Beacon at Mead Farm was lit.
We had an early start on Friday, meeting at Cold East Cross for the beating of the bounds. The full boundary is split into two walks of roughly 11 miles each over 2 days. The boundary is marked by a number of boundary stones and at each stone there is a short ceremony which involves several walkers beating the boundary stone with a stick whilst a proclamation is read.
I was able to take part in the first half of the first day's walk and Karen waved us all off.
South Devon Railway laid on a ride on a Steam Train!
In the early evening we had a special treat in store for the young school children of the parish and their families and also members of the Memory Cafe and those in the care of the Moor Care team - South Devon Railway had laid on a ride on a steam train to Totnes and back, and I had the great pleasure of riding on the footplate on the outbound journey!
Rain, blustery weather and thunder storms!
Saturday brought rain, blustery weather and thunderstorms! The rain held off just long enough to wave off the walkers beating the bounds and then we dashed back to the Town Hall for the Pensioner's coffee morning and to judge the entries in the Jubilee cake baking competition.
Just as the judging finished I had a call to meet the walkers on Holne Bridge - I was needed to present a representative of the River Dart Country Park with a Portreeve's Penny. The penny is payment for granting the beaters of the bounds leave to access the part of the boundary that lies within the River Dart Country Park.
As I made the associated proclamation I realised that I was standing there in a thunderstorm holding what is little more than a metal stick!
Fortunately the weather cleared up significantly for the BBQ at the RBL to welcome the walkers back and to welcome our French visitors from Cleder who had just arrived on a twinning trip! Karen and Nick kindly organised the BBQ, the proceeds of which were going to support one of my causes - the installation of a Memorial arch and Garden commemorating the Jubilee and the Centenary of the Ashburton branch of the RBL.
The final day of the Jubilee celebrations began with a civic service at St Andrew's Church where I was asked to give a reading and we all released balloons (inside the church).
Following the service we changed into our robes for the Big Lunch in North Street.
The event appeared briefly on BBC Spotlight in the evening
Finally it was time to remove our official trappings so we could relax at the early evening party. The Hybrid5 provided musical entertainment with bars and food provided by Coljan, the RBL and the Carnival team - a great way to end four days of celebrations!
Celebrations like this take a lot of organising, effort, teamwork and an army of volunteers and supporters. Whilst is not possible to name each and every one, you know who you are and you deserve all our thanks for your part in the events of the last few days!