In 1952, when Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne, Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister, Tea was still being rationed, and British troops were fighting in the Korean War.

14 Prime Ministers, 21,000 engagements and 70 years later, Queen Elizabeth II is now Britain’s longest reigning Monarch, seeing us through every milestone in recent history.

The constant amidst such change, the Queen has been nothing but a loyal servant to her country, and across Barnsley, we remain incredibly grateful for her work.

Indeed, Her Majesty visited us in Barnsley on more than one occasion, most notably in July 1977 as part of her trip to Yorkshire on her Silver Jubilee UK Tour where she was greeted by crowds of supporters.

Now, in the coming days and weeks, our town will once again come together to mark the 70th year of the Queen’s reign, or Platinum Jubilee.

Bunting will decorate the town centre, and on the 2nd June a commemorative beacon will be lit in Glass Works square, at the same time as over 2,000 others across the country.

It is great to hear that schools in Barnsley East will be holding celebrations. Ellis CofE Primary, Jump Primary and Forest Academy, for example, are all hosting ‘red, white and blue’ days, with special picnic lunches and activities.

High View Primary and West Meadows are also hosting themed lunches, with the former creating an exhibition of work to commemorate each decade of the Queen’s reign, and the latter hosting a sports day and poetry recital.

Kings Oak Primary will also be completing a number of activities across the week, from serving tea to the elderly to planting seeds in the local park. This will culminate in a Celebration Day and Summer Fayre.

I know a number of communities, groups, and neighbours will be hosting their own events from street parties, to festivals and fayres.

Celebrations like these provide a fantastic opportunity for people young and old to come together, feel united as a community, and honour the contribution the Queen has made over the last 70 years. I look forward to attending as many as I can.

As war wages in Europe, and our country recovers from a pandemic, it is a pleasure to have the Queen to look up to as a consistent figure throughout hard times. We thank her for her immense service and wish her a happy, healthy Jubilee and 2022.

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