19 beacons were lit across Derbyshire to celebrate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Thousands of people turned out for the county’s events, part of a national celebration with beacons lit on mountain tops, on beaches, in farmyards and on church towers across the land in a time honoured tradition.

At Tutbury Castle the beacon was lit by Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton, with the help of Councillor David Leese, Mayor of East Staffordshire Borough Council and ‘Henry VIII’.

A message, from Prince Charles, to those celebrating his mother’s birthday, was read to the gathering by Councillor Leese. “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.”

Andrew Griffiths MP had just returned from Parliament where tributes had been paid to Her Majesty. “I think it is important,” he said, “that we look back on the life of Queen Elizabeth and what she has done for our nation. It’s amazing to think that when she came to the throne she promised to dedicate herself to the service of our nation. She has done that with dedication, distinction and with great honour. We should be hugely proud of our Monarch.”

There followed a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday ahead of the lighting of the beacon and a firework display.

On an evening uncharacteristically fair, for this cold and damp April, visitors to Tutbury were entertained by musical duo Scribble Victory, the Melbourne Choir and Lauren Parker who performed her Code Red fire-eating show. Jonathan Fall, of Merlin Falconry, brought a selection of birds of prey with an opportunity for visitors see his birds at close quarters and to handle them. Children’s entertainer Messy Moss mingled with the visitors as did John White, as ‘Henry VIII’, together with a number of ladies from his ‘court’ and ‘Sir’ Steven Aucott. A good knight was had by all…