REDDITCH came out in style yesterday evening to celebrate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning British monarch.
Crowds flocked to Church Green and the town centre’s Black Tap Brew Pub which boasted a packed terrace as revellers enjoyed a complimentary glass of wine or a soft drink, provided by the Town Centre Partnership, whilst listening to a rousing performance by the Salvation Army Choir.
The town’s MP Karen Lumley was among the crowd, alongside Redditch Mayor councillor Pattie Hill and countless familiar faces from around the the town.
The crowd, which ranged from children to the elderly, were treated to a second performance by Bell Canto choir which included a particularly moving rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ which saw many of those assembled break into song and sing along.
And there was more singing when the crowd joined the choir in one voice to sing a hearty rendition of God Save the Queen.
Visitors to Church Green, which was festooned with Union Jacks fluttering in the breeze, were then addressed by Deputy Lieutenant Mrs Patricia Bradbury MBE JP who read out a special message from Prince Charles.
She 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.
“Beacons are to be lit on mountain tops, on beaches, in farmyards and on church towers – even in town centres – uniting us all in our heartfelt appreciation of the Queen’s lifetime of service to the United Kingdom and other realms and to The Commonwealth. “Since time immemorial the lighting of beacons has relayed important messages across the land. This message we proclaim with the greatest pride and affection, Your Majesty we all wish you a very happy birthday.”
Reverend Paul Lawlor, of St Stephens Church, then led those assembled in a prayer.
“Heavenly Father as we celebrate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen, receive our heartfelt thanks for all that You have given her in these 90 years and for all that she has given to us her people.
“Continue, we pray, your loving purposes in her and as you gather us together in celebration unite us also in love and service of one another.”
The crowd then watched with bated breath as Mayor Pattie Hill stepped up to light the official HM Queen Elizabeth II 90th Birthday Beacon with DLL Bradbury at 7.30pm.
As the pair lit the flame, the choir and members of the public broke into a lusty ‘Happy Birthday’ to HM The Queen.
Coun Bill Hartnett, leader of the Labour group, said it was a ‘great night’ at the band stand.
He added: “It’s the second time in less than a week we have seen the borough come together in a joint celebration – we had the complete age range from just eight months to 80-years-old.
“I spoke to many people during the event and they all had a smile and exchanged past memories of their special memories of the Queen.”
The town centre event mirrored celebrations across the country as the nation follows the lead set by Prince Charles who invited HM The Queen to light the Principal Beacon at Windsor Castle.
This was followed by the lighting of beacons along the Long Walk, Windsor Great Park, including one at the Copper Horse, and the lighting of more than 1,000 beacons throughout the UK, including the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and beyond.
Britain has a long tradition of celebrating Royal Jubilees, weddings, coronations and special birthdays with the lighting of beacons.