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
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
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.
the beacon - providing the red, yellow and orange to give a flames effect - are:
petunian surfinia, bidens, begoniia non stop and begonia.
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
The Lord Lieutenant's speech |
pictures of the event |
re-lighting the beacon for the UK chain of beacons