Words and pictures: St Helena Government
St Helena joined other UK Overseas Territories and countries around the world to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a weekend of celebrations.
First was the annual Garden Party at the Governor’s residence, Plantation House, to mark the Queen’s Birthday, where around 300 invited guests assembled in glorious weather to enjoy eats and drinks.
His Excellency, Governor Capes, gave a speech and also presented awards to staff members in recognition of their contributions to the public service.
The big event of the weekend took place on Monday 4 June on the Grand Parade in the capital, Jamestown, where the theme for the day was a traditional “village Fair”, with stalls selling everything from food and drink to jewellery and souvenirs. Members of the public turned out in the national colours of red, white and blue, in blazing sunshine.
The day began with the gathering of all island contingents, including the Scouts, Guides, Brownies and Rainbows, for an inter-denominational service and official opening ceremony.
During the ceremony Governor Capes presented 54 Diamond Jubilee medals to personnel from the St Helena emergency services in recognition of their service to the people of St Helena and the United Kingdom.
The celebrations continued throughout the day, with orchestral light music, a treasure hunt, folk music, line dancing, novelty sports, the Jacob’s Ladder Challenge, and a firework display in the evening.
A Little Miss and Miss Diamond Jubilee Contest also took place with 23 young girls between the ages of 4 and 15 years taking part to win the crown. Royalty-themed floats decorated in the red, white and blue colours of the Union Flag also paraded through the streets of Jamestown in the afternoon.
The highlight of the day was the lighting of the beacons, when St Helena joined the rest of the Overseas Territories and the Commonwealth, lighting five beacons around the island to form a Diamond shape. Governor Capes lit the first beacon on top of the arch on the Grand Parade at 7pm local time (8pm UK time).
Musical entertainment then carried on into the evening.
Governor Capes said:
“The Diamond Jubilee celebrations in this most loyal of British Overseas Territories underlined the great affection for Her Majesty among the people of St Helena. It was tremendous to see young and old, side by side, taking part in making this a happy and memorable occasion.”