A MANX Viking longship is currently en route to London to represent the Isle of Man in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
A local crew will row the replica longship from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge from 2pm on Sunday as part of a 1,000-strong flotilla to celebrate Her Majesty’s 60-year reign.
The crew – which comprises Jimmy Lee, William Macleod, Dave Richards, Alan Kneen, Nigel Rawlinson, Martin Kelly, John Ritson, Alan Capon, Chris Watterson, Peter Morgan, Andrew Mulhern and Stephen Kelly – will be in the manpowered craft section at the head of the flotilla.
Participation in the Thames Pageant is a key part of the Island’s involvement in events taking place across the Commonwealth to honour The Queen, who is the Manx Head of State and Lord of Mann.
The longship, which will have a new dragon head adorning the prow, began its journey on Wednesday when it was craned on to a flatbed lorry by the Department of Infrastructure and driven under police escort from Peel to Ramsey.
Mezeron Ltd loaded the vessel on to its cargo ship Silver River sailing to Glasson Dock in Lancashire where it was then transported by road to London.
Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK said: ‘As a British Crown Dependency, the Isle of Man is playing a full part in celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s accession. I’m sure many people will be delighted to see a Manx Viking longship flying the flag for the Island in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The Isle of Man is a proud seafaring nation and the longship represents an important part of our unique history and culture.’
He added: ‘A number of other events are taking place in the Isle of Man to mark the Diamond Jubilee which will provide an opportunity for local communities to come together and enjoy themselves while celebrating a special Royal occasion.’
Activities include the lighting of an Isle of Man Government beacon on the Green at St John’s at 10.15pm on Monday, June 4, by Community, Culture and Leisure Minister Tim Crookall MHK, Chairman of the Diamond Jubilee Working Group, and member Geoff Corkish MBE MHK. This will be part of a network of more than 4,000 beacons throughout the United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies and UK Overseas Territories.
A number of community groups and organisations are planning to join in the celebrations that night by lighting their own jubilee beacons at various venues across the Island.
Meanwhile, Island schoolchildren will have a lasting memento of the Diamond Jubilee after receiving a specially struck 50p coin and set of six stamps depicting her Majesty.
Members of Tynwald have been visiting local schools to make the presentations, and Mr Crookall and Mr Corkish attended a special assembly at Peel Clothworkers this morning (Friday, June 1) on behalf of the Diamond Jubilee Working Group.
Mr Crookall said: ‘It was a pleasure to hand over the stamps and coins, and judging by the look on the children’s faces, these are permanent reminders of the Diamond Jubilee that will be treasured for a long time to come.’
Simon Jones, Headteacher, Peel Clothworkers, added: ‘It’s fitting that schoolchildren will have such a lasting memento of this landmark year in Her Majesty’s long reign. It is a souvenir that they will want to tuck away to show their own children and grandchildren.’
Activities taking place in the Island to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee are being publicised via the Government website http://www.gov.im/cso/diamondjubilee.xml
Any individuals or organisations planning to stage an event are asked to notify Ann Craine, Secretary to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Working Group, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 685211, so the details can be added to the web page.