BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Preston joined thousands of others on the evening of Thursday 2 June 2022 in lighting a Beacon to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Beacon formed a part of the official national celebrations marking 70 years since Her Majesty ascended the throne.
More than three thousand Beacons had been lit by charities, communities and faith groups all over the UK. In addition, Beacons were lit in all 54 Commonwealth capitals, with the Principal Beacon lit in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The Beacon at the Mandir was lit by Andrew Pratt MBE, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, and formed part of a special community celebration organised by the Mandir to pay its own personal tribute to Her Majesty The Queen.
Joining the lighting ceremony was Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health at Lancashire County Council.
The evening started with the singing of prayers for Her Majesty the Queen’s health and well-being, and for the United Kingdom and all of its citizens. Following the lighting of The Tree of Trees by Her Majesty the Queen, the lighting of the Beacon coincided with the singing of the national anthem.
Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR, Pageant master of The Queen’s Jubilee Platinum Beacons, had earlier explained that the event was “building on a long tradition of lighting beacons to mark significant royal celebrations… [enabling] local communities to join together to pay tribute to Her Majesty as part of the official programme of events.”
Andrew Pratt thanked everyone “for the privilege of lighting the beacon”.
Dipaben Dave, a lead BAPS volunteer, added, “Her Majesty’s longevity of leadership has provided comfort and assurance to the nation. We are delighted to have all BAPS Hindu mandirs around the UK join in the international celebrations and pay tribute to her seven decades of public service.”
Fittingly, the lighting ceremony coincided with the start of a series of yagnas – Vedic peace prayers offered to a sacred flame – marking the centennial birth anniversary of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the inspirer of the mandir in Preston. He also lived a life dedicated to selfless service, embodying his teaching: “In the joy of others lies our own.”