Stirling will be lighting a celebratory beacon this summer to mark HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Stirling Council’s civic panel agreed last week to allocate up to £5000 from the civic budget towards the costs of the celebration – despite concern from one councilor that it was inappropriate in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
On February 6 The Queen became the first British Monarch to mark 70 years on the throne.
Across the UK, celebratory events for the jubilee are scheduled to take place throughout the year but are focused around a four-day period from Thursday June 2 to Sunday June 5.
On Thursday June 2 it is expected that over 1500 beacons will be lit by organizations across the UK, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories. A main beacon will be lit at Buckingham Palace.
Stirling is among those to be invited to do so, with the expectation that it will be lit at Stirling Castle.
Council officials told the civic panel that, while there was no obligation to take part, Stirling had regularly taken part in similar events.
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They added: “A range of jubilee and other similar events have been organized within Stirling on previous occasions and included the lighting of a beacon at Stirling Castle in 2016 to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday, and also the lighting of a beacon in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.
“While each event has had a differing circumstance, common arrangements have focussed around readings and brief speeches from a civic representative, and the involvement of a lone piper or pipe bands.”
The civic budget is available for supporting requests from community groups and organizations to provide funding and also to support civic events. The budget allocated for 2022-23 totals £22,670.
The officers said while £5000 was the sum proposed for the event, it was more likely to be around half of that, with any funds unspent remaining in the civic budget for other uses.
Panel chair Provost Christine Simpson (Labour) said: “I have attended a previous lighting of a beacon at Stirling Castle. There was a large attendance by members of the public who were very interested in this process.”
However, SNP councilor Susan McGill was uncomfortable with the move in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
She said: “I would like to record my dissatisfaction on this. I know £5000 is not a large sum of money [in terms of the budget] but we have just been through a pandemic, increasing household expenses and particulary fuel costs are increasing.
“The public won’t know this is coming from a specific fund so I don’t think we should be going ahead with this.”
Green councillor Alasdair Tollemache said he had been involved in transporting wood to the top of Dumyat for a beacon marking the Golden Jubilee in 2002 but understood Councillor McGill’s reservations.
He added: “I’m not going to second Councilor McGill, however. I feel as the head of state for 70 years there should be some recognition for that.”
The panel approved the proposal, with Councilor McGill’s dissent being recorded.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.