Diss Beacon Lighting Ceremony
21 June 2021
The weather did not put pay to acknowledging the impact of Covid-19 on our community and across the globe. Even the High Sheriff of Norfolk, Michael Gurney, DL, took time out of his busy schedule to attend the Diss Beacon lighting ceremony and test out both new Beacon trails around the town and surrounding villages.
The Town Mayor, Councillor Eric Taylor, welcomed him alongside representatives of local organisations, sponsors and supporters of the project, Town Councillors and staff and the Beacon committee to pay tribute to those we have lost during the pandemic, honour those who helped us through and encourage us to hope for better times ahead.
“It was a real pleasure to be involved in the ceremony which seemed well appreciated by all who attended," said Eric Taylor, Diss Town Mayor. "It was a poignant reminder of what we and our loved ones have been through as the pandemic touched all of us. It was also good to be able to acknowledge our gratitude to key workers for their tireless efforts which has been so important in fighting COVID-19.”
Former Mayor, Councillor Sonia Browne, explained the background to the project before inviting guests to reflect during a minute’s silence.
"Observing the minute’s silence made me reflect on the huge impact of the last 18 months on all our families," said Charlotte Valori Beacon committee member & local resident. "Now, with the vaccine, we can all look forward with confidence, and lighting the Beacon of Hope symbolises a positive future ahead for all of us, in Diss and beyond. It has been a delight to put the Beacon trails together: I have learnt so many things about Diss! I hope people enjoy exploring them. We are so lucky to live in such a fascinating, beautiful part of Norfolk."
Cllr Browne was then invited to light the Diss Beacon of Hope, designed, and manufactured by local engineering company, Roy Allen Ltd and installed by Alex and Andrew Rackham.
“The commitment of the community ‘volunteers’ to make the project happen should be commended," said Beacon committee member, Andrew Rackham. "We are all looking forward to phase two which will put the final touches to the project.”
The lighting of the Beacon was followed by a poem, Song of Hope, by Thomas Hardy, read by Charlotte Valori, a key member of the Beacon committee and local resident with the event culminating in a few words from the High Sheriff of Norfolk who was able to talk about his experience of the Beacon trails.
Thank you to everyone who attended and have supported the project so far. Phase 2 will consider the installation of a plinth around the Beacon’s base, which will house a time capsule – creating a unique material record of this tough moment in our town’s history - alongside a gallery of reflection and sculpture trail.
More details on the Beacon of Hope project and the trails are available at www.diss.gov.uk/diss-beacon-of-hope.