Yorkshire port plans Diamond Jubilee flotilla

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Plans have been announced for a spectacular flotilla on the River Humber to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Organisers hope thousands of people will turn out on both banks of the river for the flotilla, which aims to recreate one held in 1897 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign.

It will be one of the main events of three days of celebrations to be held over the Bank Holiday weekend in June.

The flotilla will be led by three tugs spraying water from their deck guns, and will include pleasure craft from six local sailing clubs, a heritage fleet, including the Humber Keel & Sloop Preservation Society’s Amy Howson and Comrade and the stunning yacht Ierne, which clinched Olympic gold at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.

Beacons will be lit in four areas of the foreshore and the towers of the Humber Bridge will be illuminated when the fleet has departed, coinciding with the lighting of thousands of others around the world.

The Pageantmaster, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons Bruno Peek said it was the only flotilla he had heard of taking place outside London.

He said: “I think it is brilliant, a great effort. I wish them all the best. It will be an amazing event.”

The Humber Diamond Jubilee Committee, made up of four town and parish councils, Hessle, Barton, North Ferriby and South Ferriby, is appealing for financial and administrative help.

Phil Withers, a Hessle town councillor, and one of the event organisers, said: “What they are trying to do in London is get 1,000 vessels together to exceed Henry VIII’s record.

“What we are trying to do here on the Humber is recreate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee of 1897.

“It won’t be on the same scale as London but the vessels will be fully dressed with flags and pennants and it should be a magnificent sight.”

The flotilla is expected to set off around 5.30pm on Monday June 4, sailing under the Humber Bridge, past Hessle and North Ferriby, before turning towards South Ferriby cliff, passing again under the bridge and sailing past Barton, before disbanding at around 7pm.

Other events are being organised in the villages and towns. Coun Withers said: “We want to make this a momentous event for the enjoyment of the people of the Humber and to promote the area.

“We are particularly grateful for the support of our MP Alan Johnson, Bridgemaster Peter Hill and Harbour Master Humber Capt Phil Cowing.”

The Thames pageant will be one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river. The armed forces, fire, police, rescue and other services will all be taking part with historic boats, wooden launches, and steam vessels.

There will even be a floating belfry chiming its bells like the riverbank churches.

Passenger boats will carry up to 30,000 flag-waving members of the public for the floating celebration of Her Majesty’s 60-year reign and adding to the spectacle will be firework displays and barges carrying musicians