The Vice Lord Lieutenant for the County Borough of Londonderry, Mr Ian Crowe MBE DL, has lit a beacon at the main gate of St Columb’s Cathedral to mark the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

It was one of 1,500 such beacons set alight across the UK and Commonwealth on Friday evening to celebrate the Queen’s seven decades on the throne. The Queen has become the first UK monarch to reach this milestone.

Leading members of the four main churches in Londonderry joined the Mayor, civic, business and community leaders in a throng of people who gathered for Thursday evening’s ceremony.

The Mayor of Derry and Strabane District, Alderman Graham Warke, said it was an honour to welcome those present to a special occasion in which they were joining with many other people throughout the world. The Vice Lord Lieutenant read out a proclamation to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee, before lighting the beacon.

During the ceremony, the Gentlemen of the Cathedral Choir sang ‘A Song for the Commonwealth’, a piper played ‘Diu Regnare’ and a bugler played ‘Majesty’.

As the ceremony drew to a close, the Moderator of the Presbytery of Derry and Donegal, Rev Graeme Orr, the Minister of Carlisle Road Methodist Church, Rev John Montgomery, the Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown, and the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Andrew Forster, led prayers of thanksgiving for the Queen.

Bishop Andrew said our hearts were filled with celebration as we gave thanks for 70 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. “Her majesty has been a beacon of duty,” the Bishop said, “pledged as a young woman; a beacon of service, unfailingly given; a beacon of reconciliation, lived out in her many visits to Northern Ireland and, indeed, to the Republic of Ireland; a beacon of devotion who, as sovereign, has guarded our democracy; a beacon of hope, in darker days, addressing her nation in times of peril; a beacon of self-sacrifice, giving of herself to share the burdens of others; a beacon of steadfastness, leading by example of both strength and humility; and a beacon of faith. Our sovereign Queen who is a beacon to us all, knows within herself one who is a greater light, the one who is known as the light of the world, Jesus Christ.

“A number of years ago, in one of her Christmas addresses, she said this: ‘Billions of people follow Christ’s teaching and find in him the guiding light of their lives. I am one of them.’

“So, this evening, as all of her people, we give thanks to God for our sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth, and we pray that the light that has shone so brightly in her life – the light of faith – would shine in each one of our lives. And we pray that her example would inspire us to acts of duty and service, to acts of compassion and kindness, that Her Majesty has shown through her long reign. And we, this evening – the people of this great city – give thanks for that example and pray for her continued health and wellbeing.”