Saturday, 18 September 2021

Happy Birthday Ma'am

ROYALISTS lit a beacon in Rotherfield Greys to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.

ROYALISTS lit a beacon in Rotherfield Greys to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.

About 200 people attended the event on Thursday last week which was one of about 1,000 beacon lightings across the country.

It took place outside St Nicholas’s church with food and drinks being served under a marquee by George Thomas and Calum Miller, who run the Maltsters Arms. They handed out Union flags while another was on the flagpost in the churchyard and bunting was used to decorate the area.

The evening was introduced by organiser Gillian Ovey, who lives in the village, before two verses of the national anthem were sung while the crowd stood, sung along and waved flags.

A message from Prince Charles was read out to the crowds by Sam Samuels, who also lives in the village.

It said: “I am delighted that so many people throughout the United Kingdom are coming together to light beacons in celebration of my mother, the Queen’s, 90th birthday. It is a wonderful gesture which I know has deeply touched Her Majesty.”

The crowd then sang Happy Birthday to the Queen.

John Hill, from Rotherfield Greys, lit the beacon that he had filled with straw and old fencing from the Nettlebed estate he topped up with his own wood.

He used a pole with a rag on the end to light the 20ft high beacon which was in the field opposite the church.

As he did this there were applause and “hoorays” from the spectators before the church bells were rung.

Later in the evening there were fireworks and a singalong which included Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia.

Mr Hill, who built and erected the beacon, said: “We use it whenever there is something to do with the Queen or the royal family happening. It’s a tradition and she has been a good Queen so you have got to do it.”

A cake was baked for the occasion which was adorned with 90 candles. They were blown out by Ava Reineke, 13, from Henley, as it was also her birthday.

Niamh Quinn, of Harpsden Road, Henley, was celebrating her seventh birthday on the day. She said it was “fun” to share her birthday with the monarch.

Mrs Ovey, who owns the Hernes Estate with her husband Richard, said: “I could not be more pleased. I don’t know where everybody has come from.

“We put it in the parish magazine for the benefice saying as many people as you like are welcome. This is what happened, it’s superb.”

Last weekend, 18 people took part in a Clean for the Queen event in preparation for the celebration and they collected more than 30 bags of rubbish.

Katrina Judge, from Shepherd’s Green, said: “The Queen is an amazing woman. To get to 90 and still be so active is incredible.”

Henley Bluebells celebrated the occasion with a tea party.

Members of the day centre for the elderly decorated their room at the Christ Church Centre in Reading Road with Union flags and a message which read “Happy Birthday to our Queen”.

They also had a celebratory lunch and singalong with local singer Roger Salman.

Agnes Mackrell, 96, said she can still remember when the Queen took the throne following the death of her father, George VI. “I’m older than the Queen and Prince Philip,” she said. “I also remember when she was coronated.” Lynne Holtom, 91, grew up in London and moved to Oxfordshire during the Second World War, when she was in the Women’s Land Army. She said: “The Queen has done an excellent job. She was also a woman in service like me.”

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