Spixworth girl helps light Norwich beacon

A girl dressed in a Union Jack was plucked from the crowd to light the Norwich beacon last night.

Harriet Samuel, seven, from Spixworth, was outside City Hall waiting for the beacon to be lit at 10.15pm, when a council official came rushing out of the building. He took her by the hand and walked with her and her mother Sandra in to City Hall. Seconds later the schoolgirl from Spixworth Infants' School was seen on the balcony beside the unlit beacon.

Afterwards, she said: 'The man held me up and I helped him light the flame. It was great.

'The beacon was bigger than I thought it was going to be. But not as hot as I thought it was going to be.'

She said she was enjoying the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, but this was the highlight.

Her shocked parents Paul and Sandra Samuel and her three-year-old brother, Edward, were among about 100 people who had gathered in central Norwich to see the beacon lit.

Among them was Jan Flack, who lives in the city centre, who had earlier spoken to her daughter Mika in New Zealand, where some of the first beacons were lit hours earlier. She said: 'I just wanted to see the beacon lit in Norwich. My daughter was in Auckland where one of the first beacons was lit and another friend of mine had been in Sydney, Australia, when another beacon was lit. It was therefore inevitable that I would see it in Norwich.'

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Rebecca Croucher and Michael Sullivan, from Barrack Street, Norwich, were also in the crowd. Mr Sullivan said: 'We just wanted to see what it was like and get involved.'

After the beacon was lit, the crowd began singing an impromptu version of 'God Save the Queen' followed by a round of cheers and clapping.

The beacon on the balcony of City Hall was due to burn for one hour last night.

The Norwich beacon joined a network of more than 4,000 beacons being lit across the United Kingdom and around the world to celebrate The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

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