A time to celebrate

Henk Geertsema explores two key initiatives that members can get involved with as part of celebrations for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022

The Queen’s Green Canopy

The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) initiative, under the patronage of The Prince of Wales, offers a unique opportunity for everyone in the UK to get involved in planting trees, copses, woods and avenues, in dedication to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The initiative, which was launched earlier this year at the virtual Chelsea Flower Show, is encouraging people to ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’ to create a network of trees across Britain’s devolved administrations and counties.

CLA member Sir Nicholas Bacon chairs the QGC Board, which is supported by various organisations, including The Woodland Trust, Defra, Cool Earth, The Royal Horticultural Society, Trees for Cities and The Forest Canopy Foundation. Organisations such as charities, schools, scout groups, councils and landowners will all be involved in creating a lasting legacy in honour of the Queen’s leadership, which will also serve to enhance the environment and landscapes for generations to come.

The initiative is particularly keen to involve disadvantaged urban communities and help them plant trees in their local areas. The planting of trees will start this October. Members are encouraged to use ‘Plant Healthy’ nurseries where possible, otherwise people are encouraged to check the provenance of tress to mitigate the risk of disease. All trees for this initiative are sourced in the UK and Ireland and all plantings will follow the principles of ‘the right tree in the right place’ and ‘quality over quantity’.

The website www.queensgreencanopy.org gives advice and information on procuring and planting trees as well as caring for them. Participants can register and upload details of their plantings on a map, together with photographs. A map detailing all the plantings will be presented to Her Majesty at the end of the celebration. Commemorative plaques will also be available for purchase through the website. Alternatively, the plaque template can also be downloaded to make them locally available.

Mark Tufnell, CLA Deputy President, is a member of the Stewardship Advisory Committee to the QGC and is working with others to ensure that the message reaches as many as possible. All parish councils are being encouraged to participate, and Mark will be asking CLA members to join him in planting trees on their land to recognise The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Mark is a keen advocate of improved woodland management on farms and estates and a supporter of the recognition of ancient woodlands, which will be achieved through the QGC dedication plan.

The design of the unique QGC tree guards will reflect the importance of this Jubilee as trees represent a vital part of the landscape, particularly in the UK. The Jubilee celebrates the 70 years of service from Her Majesty. The period of time also reflects the time taken for trees to grow into a majestic form, either as a wood, avenue or individual tree.

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons

11 Inverary Castle - Jubilee Beacons.jpg
Beacons, such as this one at Inveraray Castle, Argyll, will be lit across the country to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee

Plans are well underway to light 1,500 beacons at 9.15pm on 2 June 2022 to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This follows a long tradition in the UK of marking key royal events (jubilees, weddings and coronations) with the lighting of beacons. Many CLA members have taken part in events to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and also to celebrate her 90th birthday in 2016.

Beacons will be lit throughout the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories. For the first time, beacons will also be lit in each of the capital cities of the Commonwealth countries. Organisers are aiming to make the 2022 event the biggest and most spectacular one yet, and are appealing to landowners and farmers up and down the country to set up beacons on their property to ensure an impressive chain of blazes stretches across the UK.

Organisers are aiming to make the 2022 event the biggest and most spectacular one yet, and are appealing to landowners and farmers up and down the country to set up beacons on their property to ensure an impressive chain of blazes stretches across the UK

Events can either be private or open to the public, but both type of event should be registered so that they can be recorded in a later publication to mark the occasion.

Bruno Peek, Pageantmaster, The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons, says: “The lighting of the beacons will provide our great country estates and family farms with an opportunity to pay tribute to Her Majesty The Queen, and will be an excellent way to celebrate with family, friends and workers alike.

“Beacons can be accompanied by a barn dance with music and dancing or a simple barbecue shared by those attending, using home-grown produce from the estate or farm, celebrating the best of British produce, too. It is up to those that register to choose whether they want the celebration to be a private or public celebration. The most important thing is to take part.”

Members who want to take part can register their beacon, and will be asked whether their beacon is a public or private event, enabling the organisers to list the public ones in the Guide to Taking Part available here.

Keeping the private events separate will allow the organisers to send both type of event further important information, such as lighting time and other details nearer the time. At 1pm on the day, town criers across the country will announce the lighting of the fires.

There are three types of beacons being lit for this historic occasion:

  1. A free-standing beacon fuelled by bottle gas.
  2. A beacon brazier with a metal shield. This could be built by local craftspeople or adopted as a project by a school or college.
  3. A bonfire beacon.

Communities with existing beacon braziers are encouraged to light these on the night. Members wanting to participate can register their intentions by emailing the required details to brunopeek@mac.com.

Find out more

More information about the types of beacons, plus the information needed to register for a public or private event is available in a downloaded guide available here.