Flames and a party launch beacon

June 2012 


SMOKE and a flame rising from the floral beacon might suggest a problem with Nantwich in Bloom's special display on The Square - but the flame is an integral part of the display.


NANTWICH in Bloom are hoping that their special display in The Square is unique throughout the UK - complete with a living flame as it is. As well as specially-chosen flowers to give the appearance of flames, the group decided to have real fire in a special container in the middle of the flowers since there is not a hill or cliff top for a real beacon in the vicinity.

   But it almost didn't happen. As David Briggs, the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, tried - with the help of two young ladies fittingly called Elizabeth - to light a candle with which he was going to like the actual flame, the disposable lighter handed to him by Doug Butterill (Chairman of Nantwich in Bloom) refused to do more than spark. And the candle itself was a problem as it had been soaked by rain showers minutes earlier.

   So, the Lord Lieutenant decided to climb an ordinary household metal ladder up to the floral beacon top and try to ignite the flame in situ. He carried the candle with him as a burst of flame might have made using the lighter directly a little hazardous.

   How many people keep their dignity after being asked to perform such a public duty? The Lord Lieutenant managed it before returning safely to ground level.

   Watching all this were around 500 local schoolchildren who, in previous weeks, had been helping Nantwich in Bloom volunteers to plant bee-and butterfly-friendly plants around the town to attract insect pollinators to flower beds. And they were there to enjoy a special Queen's Diamond Jubilee party - well, the singing and dancing part, any way. Music was provided by a roadshow staged by The Cat Community Radio.

   But first came the serious part of the day. Alderman Butterill introduced the Lord Lieutenant (picture, right), the Crewe and Nantwich MP (Edward Timpson), the Deputy Mayor of Cheshire East Council (Cllr Dorothy Flude of Crewe, also pictured), and the Town Mayor of Nantwich (Cllr Graham Fenton). The latter two had been elected to their posts only a few weeks earlier. Cheers rose from the crowd of children and their parents, and other adults in The Square, as Doug introduced the celebrities.

    In his speech, the Lord Lieutenant praised Queen Elizabeth the Second for her work for the country during "an amazing 60 years". [See here for the full speech.] He also hoped the youngsters would enjoy the Jubilee party right there in The Square, which was to follow. They certainly did that.

   But not before the Lord Lieutenant had lit the beacon. And the Town Crier, John Parsons, had thanked - on behalf of Nantwich in Bloom - everyone who had gone to the event and had helped in any way.

   The singing of the National Anthem marked the start of the party in which the youngsters and some adults sang and danced to music provided by The Cat Community Radio.


lTHE pupils came from Millfields, Wyche, Highfields, St Anne's, Weaver, Pear Tree, Wrenbury, Malbank, Brine Lees, Acton and Broad Lane schools. Much of the credit for this must go to Gil Price of Weaver Primary School who encouraged all the schools to attend.

lFLOWERS in the beacon - providing the red, yellow and orange to give a flames effect - are: petunian surfinia, bidens, begoniia non stop and begonia.
lTHE living flame had to be extinguished before the Nantwich in Bloom officials left The Square - on safety advice from the local fire service. But it was re-lit by the Town Mayor in a special ceremony on Bank Holiday Monday during which beacons all over the country were lit to a special programme. Beacon lighting times are dictated by the Queen's Pageant Master.



Doug Butterill said: "The floral beacon was planted in April in a greenhouse kindly loaned to us by Regents Park (the former Elim College) and moved to its present position by a Reaseheath lecturer and pupils.

   "The hanging baskets in The Square and some of the bunting were hung by Crewe fire cadets who also hung the baskets at Peter Wilson's Fine Art in Market Street, the basket tree in Pepper Street, The Cocoa Yard, Nantwich Station and at Barrington's accountants.

   "Nantwich in Bloom volunteers and the Civic Society planted the centre bed and the tubs in The Square down to the church, as well as outside the museum.

   "A real community effort, I'm sure you will agree."

The Lord Lieutenant's speech | pictures of the event | re-lighting the beacon for the UK chain of beacons


Fun at the party on The Square

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