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Mystery of beacon blazes on

PUBLISHED: 19:05 12 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:05 03 March 2010

THE mystery of the Queen's missing beacon at Felixstowe has turned into a right Royal row - with the town's Lions accused of failing to light it.

Organisers of the BBC Live Music Festival to mark the golden jubilee say the Lions had taken on the task of making the end of the event a roaring success.

THE mystery of the Queen's missing beacon at Felixstowe has turned into a right Royal row – with the town's Lions accused of failing to light it.

Organisers of the BBC Live Music Festival to mark the golden jubilee say the Lions had taken on the task of making the end of the event a roaring success.

But it all ended with a whimper rather than a roar as hundreds of mystified people stood on a clifftop waiting to see a beacon lit with no-one knowing what was going on and nobody there to strike the match.

Show organiser Les Arbon said: "The first I knew that there was a problem with the beacon on the clifftop was at 7pm on the day of the show.

"The responsibility for lighting it had been given to the Felixstowe Lions Club, which had said it would take it on, leave it to them.

"Suddenly, someone tells me there is a problem and at that time of night there was not a lot I could do about it.

"There has obviously been a mix-up somewhere along the line among the Lions, but it would have been nice if they could have told me earlier. We have been let down badly over this and I am not happy and I am getting all the flack."

Mr Arbon said the second beacon – which was due to be lit on the sea – had in the end been lit on the beach.

"I think people nearby would have seen it, but obviously those further along the prom were watching out to sea to see the beacon lit there. It was disappointing but it couldn't be done on the sea for technical reasons," he added.

Lion Barry Gillings was part of the organising party for the beacon lighting, but dropped out because he had a holiday booked over the jubilee weekend.

"I pulled out in March or April and responsibility was passed on to somebody else. I thought it was best that I let them know that I wouldn't be around to light it and that duty was passed to another person," he said.

Mr Arbon has this week met with the Lions to discuss the matter and voice his disappointment.

But after the meeting all Lions public relations officer Maurice Dixon would say was: "No comment."

There were a total of 1,996 beacons spread around the country and only four of them failed to light – one of them at Felixstowe.

Even so, the town's jubilee festival was a massive success, attracting 35,000 people for an 11-hour extravaganza of music and other entertainment with the seafront turned into a "musical mile" and the beach and prom packed all day.

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