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Marlborough and Pewsey party in style
What a right royal weekend for families in the Marlborough and Pewsey area with parties and celebrations that will live long in the memories of those who took part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The partying and the fun and games were capped last night by huge beacons that could be seen on the hilltops across Wiltshire and beyond. From the Marlborough beacon site at Barbury it was possible to see beacons on the Berkshire Downs in the east and as far away as on top the Cotswolds in the west.
Olympic gold medal hurdler David Hemery, who carried one of the Olympic torches two weeks ago through Wootton Bassett, used a torch of a different kind to light the Marlborough beacon on the highest point of the downs on Nigel Bunter’s Barbury Castle estate at 10pm last night.
The beacon was organised by Marlborough Brandt Group and despite an admission fee of £15 for adults and £35 for families an estimated crowd of 600 watched as Mr Hemery, who lives at Fyfield, used a long-handled blazing wand to light the huge bonfire.
He took along the Olympic torch he carried through Royal Wootton Bassett but explained that he was not able to use it to light the beacon. “It was operated by a gas cylinder and when we had finished they took the cylinders away,” he said.
Among those watching the Barbury beacon was Marlborough’s new mayor Edwina Fogg and she said the jubilee weekend in the town had been “a great success” despite heavy rain on Sunday forcing the town’s Picnic in The Priory to be switched to the town hall.
There was a huge beacon at Pewsey last night, too, above the white horse that looks over the village, providing a wonderful finale to its jubilee celebrations.
Earlier yesterday hundreds of Pewsey people gathered in the meadow behind the Cooper’s Inn to celebrate with a massive party with families taking along pic-nic banquets.
The sun shone on the Pewsey celebrations where entertainment included fairground rides with a full-sized dodgems track, children’s rides, sideshows, the old countryside game of ‘splat the rat’, a performance by Pewsey Male Voice Choir and live bands to bring the day to an end before the beacon was lit.
Among those celebrating the Queen’s Diamond anniversary was a man celebrating his own. Nick Economou, who lives in the village, was 60 yesterday and with his wife Pauline and family merged his celebration party with the village knees-up.
Ramsbury had a whole afternoon and evening of activities yesterday with an exhibition of Ramsbury 60 Years Ago in the memorial hall, old fashioned games, a tug of war over the River Kennet and market stalls selling local produce with the finale of a beacon on the hill overlooking the village.
Great Bedwyn families partied yesterday, too, with a Jubilee tea party on the village’s memorial playing field with traditional games and a tug of war.
Aldbourne celebrated on Sunday with Jubilee Ball on Saturday, a Big Lunch and band concert on Sunday and a jubilee garden party yesterday.
Burbage was one of the first communities to celebrate on Sunday with a Picnic at the Palace on the green in front of the village church where a triumphal arch was built for the village’s own queens and kings to pass under to get to the party.
Villages including Mildenhall, Froxfield, Lockeridge, Fyfield, Overton, West Kennett and Avebury had their own celebrations