JUBILEE fever is taking over the nation, and Berwickshire is no exception.
Towns and villages across the county are gearing up for a long weekend of partying and celebrations, and as it coincides with two big annual events in Berwickshire - the Jim Clark Rally at Duns and the Border Gaitherin traditional music festival in Coldstream - a party atmosphere is guaranteed.
At the forefront of much of the planning has been the Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire, Major Alexander Trotter. However, having planted trees, organised beacons to be lit and overseen and encouraged many of the events taking place in Berwickshire, Major Trotter will be heading for London for the jubilee weekend, to take part in two of the major national events - the River Thames pageant on Sunday, June 3 and the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, on Tuesday, June 5. He will be leaving one of his deputy lieutenants, Robin Forrest, to take charge of the beacons on Monday night, and has encouraged communities across Berwickshire to organise Big Lunch events.
Major Trotter has also written to the head teachers of all the Berwickshire primary schools to make them aware of an education pack produced by Buckingham Palace that explains the role of the monarch, and both Major Trotter and his deputies are offering to go into the schools to give a talk to the children about the monarchy.
The Queen will lead a flotilla of up to one thousand boats from the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world on the River Thames for the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on Sunday, and two Berwickshire boats will be part of the flotilla.
Come Sunday, Major Trotter will be aboard the Eyemouth Harbour boat ‘Biscoe Kid’ accompanied by his wife Julia, harbour master Ivor Stevenson (who is skippering the boat), former harbour master Johnny Johnston, deputy lieutenant Ian Waddell and his wife Faye, and Berwickshire quiz winner Mark Pentecost and his 12 year old daughter Polly from Reston. ‘Biscoe Kid’ has been painted and undergone an engineering overhaul to ensure she’s ready to take her place in the pageant. She is being lifted out of Eyemouth harbour this morning (Thursday) and loaded onto a trailer, along with the Eyemouth rowing skiff ‘Unity’, ready for them both to travel down to London by road.
As well as the official Berwickshire party on the ‘Biscoe Kid’ and the local rowers on ‘Unity’, former Duns fireman, David Melrose will be on board the Gloriana. David was left paralysed after being injured in 2010 while tackling a fire at Eyemouth Golf Club, and he has been chosen as one of a select group of non-rowers invited to lead the pageant on the rowed barge Gloriana, which is representing Motability and is positioned just behind the Queen’s barge.
Trying to find the Berwickshire boats in the seven and a half mile flotilla of a thousand boats may be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but all the boats will be sporting their individual pennants - ‘Biscoe Kid’ will be sporting the number H119, and ‘Unity’ M121.
On Tuesday, Major Trotter will be representing Berwickshire at the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral along with Lord Lieutenants from across the country, attended by the Queen and other members of the Royal family. The service will include a special prayer and a young choir created especially for the occasion.
Afterwards The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will attend a reception at Mansion House before joining other members of the royal family at Westminster Hall for a special lunch, followed by a formal carriage procession with representatives of the three military services lining the streets, military bands and a 60 gun salute during the carriage procession. An RAF flypast and a celebratory cascade of rifle fire will create a rousing finale to the long weekend.
But that’s not the end of the jubilee celebrations. The Borders Lord Lieutenants are planning a thanksgiving service in the region in September attended by a member of the royal family.