The History of Scarning’s Beacon

In July 1988, a chain of beacons was lit throughout England and Wales to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the sighting of the Spanish Armada off the coastline of England. The chairman of Scarning Parish Council, Sydney Nurse, sadly died suddenly just a few months later, on the 3rd January 1989, and when there was talk of another beacon ceremony, his close family and friends decided to commemorate his death by creating a beacon for the people of Scarning. Sydney was born in Scarning, lived at 4 New Inn Lane, and passed his 11+ at the school nearby. The metal brazier basket was formed by Sydney’s business partner Peter Gee, in their engineering workshop in Dereham, and the beacon was erected at one of the highest points in the village by the Parish Council, with Sydney’s brother Alan Nurse as chairman.

The beacon, situated on the layby near Scarning Grange on Dereham Road, was first used on 31st December 1992 as part of Beacon Europe, when over 1000 beacons across the twelve countries of the European Community were lit, organised by the Queen’s Pageantmaster, Bruno Peek from Gorleston.

Three years later the beacon was lit again in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of VE Day in 1995. It has since been lit to celebrate the Millennium, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, Trafalgar Weekend in 2005 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on 4th June 2012.

Ten years later, in preparation for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022, the Parish Council decided to refurbish the beacon and also relocate it in a more prominent position within the same layby. GT Bunning in Gressenhall very generously refurbished the beacon basket and supplied a new metal post. TBL Concrete from Shipdham kindly donated the concrete for the base, and two Parish Councillors, Tim Abel and Chris Farnham re-erected the beacon in its new home just in time for the lighting ceremony on 2nd June 2022.

The beacon Dec 2000

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The beacon lighting ceremony starts at 7.30 on Thursday 2nd June 2022. It is completely free, and there will be toilets on-site. The layby is in easy walking distance from both ends of the village, but there is ample off-road parking if needed. A live band – The Dell Boys – will be playing hits from the 60s and 70s from 8pm, and Roger & Yvonne Long will be kept busy selling barbecued food and liquid refreshments throughout the evening.

Karen Nichols will signal the start of the lighting by playing the official fanfare on a bugle at 9.40 pm followed by Neil Parsons lighting the beacon at 9.45, along with thousands of other beacons throughout the UK. A fitting start to four days of activities in Scarning to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Here are various photos of past Jubilee celebrations in Scarning.