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Seventy-strong flotilla will lead Humber Platinum Jubilee celebrations 

Picture from the Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the Humber in 2012.

The Humber Estuary will provide the stage for a spectacular celebration and re-enactment to mark this year’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Main pic left to right: Councillor Graham Fordham, Captain Phil Cowling, Phil Withers at the side of Hull Marina where the flotilla will launch.

Hessle Town Council is leading the project to launch a flotilla of 70 vessels which will set sail on Thursday 2 June – the official date of the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty’s coronation.

The craft will range from small – including the inshore lifeboat operated by Humber Rescue – to large, with plans to bring in pleasure boats, harbour tugs and even a trawler. 

In addition to celebrating the jubilee, the event will re-enact the Humber flotilla of 60 boats in 2012, when Hessle Town Council celebrated The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and the occasion in 1897 when watermen gathered their boats on the Humber in celebration of Queen Victoria’s 60-year reign.

The announcement by Hessle Town Council of its plans for a Platinum Jubilee flotilla comes as the 70th anniversary approaches on Sunday 6 February of The Queen’s accession to the throne following the death of her father King George VI.

Councillor Graham Fordham, who is one of the organisers of Hessle’s Jubilee events, said: “The Humber Platinum Jubilee Flotilla is a celebration in its own right and takes on added importance because of the need to support local businesses which have suffered badly with loss of footfall, income and investment over the last two years.

“London staged a floating Diamond Jubilee pageant in 2012 and our view then was that if they could do it on the Thames we could do it on the Humber. Our Diamond Jubilee flotilla in 2012 was a great success so we decided to repeat it this year, only bigger and better!”

Hessle Town Council has secured support for the flotilla from East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Hull City Council as well as from Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (VHEY) and The Corporation of Hull Trinity House.

Councillor Fordham is working closely with Phil Withers, a former councillor who organised the 2012 event, and Captain Phil Cowing, Master Warden of Hull Trinity House and former Harbour Master Humber, who will co-ordinate the fleet arrangements.

Mr Withers said: “The flotilla is not just about celebrating the Monarch but also our rich maritime heritage and history as well we the Humber’s place as the UK’s energy estuary with many of the participants involved in the renewable energy sector.”

The 70 craft will parade from Minerva Pier next to the marina in Hull, Yorkshire’s Maritime City, to the Humber Bridge at Hessle with spectators gathering on the banks of the estuary to view the historic event which is recognised as an official element of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons 2022.

A full programme of activities will take place across the UK and the Commonwealth during a four-day Bank Holiday weekend of festivities beginning on the Thursday.

Town criers, pipers, buglers and bands will all play a part during a day of celebrations with the highlight coming at 10pm with the lighting of more than 1,500 beacons throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories, including one on Hessle Foreshore.

Hessle Town Council is accepting applications now from vessel owners who wish to join the flotilla and is also urging businesses to play a part and add to the support already committed by organisations including ABP Humber, Aquavista Marinas, Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, Lagoon Hull, Marketing Humber and Team Humber Marine Alliance.

Councillor Fordham said: “We already have vessels of differing size and historic interest applying to take part, including some which are berthed in Hull Marina, and we are delighted that Captain Cowing will be overseeing the critical operations to ensure safe navigation.

“We expect the remaining places to be snapped up very quickly but we also want to hear from businesses and other organisations who can help us seize the opportunity to present a unique historic event and demonstrate our strong maritime heritage all set against the iconic backdrop of the Humber Bridge.”

Councillor Daren Hale, leader of Hull City Council, said: “Hull is a proud maritime city, so this is the perfect way to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.

“The sight of dozens of vessels leaving our stunning marina is a fantastic nod to our rich maritime past, as well as a fitting tribute to Her Majesty The Queen.

“Hull’s maritime heritage is a vital part of our future, which is why we are currently refurbishing and regenerating the city’s key maritime sites through the Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project.

“I, like I’m sure many of our residents, am looking forward to what promises to be a memorable day for our region and a fitting tribute to the 70 years of service of Her Majesty The Queen.”

Councillor Jane Evison, portfolio holder for economic development and tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “This is a fantastic idea to not only celebrate this year’s Platinum Jubilee in great style, but also to again support for our local businesses who have suffered through reduced footfall over the last couple of years due to the pandemic. 

“I recall the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 being a great success and I am fully confident the Platinum Jubilee celebrations will repeat that success – if not better it!”

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