STREET parties, beacon lighting and a concert in a historic hangar will mark Her Majesty's 90th birthday with thousands of events taking place across the county.

The country is gearing up to celebrate the impressive milestone and Oxfordshire is leading the way having already 'cleaned for the Queen' and a calendar of events lined up starting this month.

The Queen will celebrate her birthday on Thursday, April 21, and the official birthday later on Saturday, June 11.


In the city a number of special locals will also celebrate their 90th birthdays this year as honourary guests at a ceremony at Christchurch Cathedral.

The Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Tim Stevenson and the Dean of Christ Church Martyn Percy have invited anyone in the county that was born in 1926 to a Service of Thanksgiving at the cathedral on Her Majesty's official birthday in June.

Those turning 90 this year will enjoy a regal ceremony Christ Church before being treated to tea at the Town Hall hosted by the Lord Mayor of Oxford.

Outgoing Mayor Rae Humberstone said: "Even though I won’t be Lord Mayor then it’s something that interests me greatly and I’m just sorry I won’t be there when it takes place. I’ll be deputy Lord Mayor then.

"These things are important to celebrate. Turning 90 is a big deal in anyone’s book, I’m glad we at the Town Hall in the city can put something on for them and celebrate such an achievement."

North Oxfordshire

In Bicester the town's heritage will create a dramatic backdrop to what is hoped to attract around 1,000 people as the County Youth Orchestra takes centre stage at RAF Bicester.

Plans are afoot to mark the summer celebrations and the orchestra are preparing for patriotic performance.

Bicester Town Councillor helping organise the event Richard Mould said: "We were looking to find a way of celebrating the opening of the town's library as well as tying that in with The Queen's birthday.

"We will also have the civic service, with a royal theme, in July and we will be naming officially naming the new cafe in Garth Park."

Elsewhere in town will be a number of streets parties including those in Hanover Gardens retirement homes and the Bicester Big Lunch expected to rival that along The Mall by attracting thousands to Sheep Street.

Banbury locals will join communities across the country on April, 21, lighting the town beacon in Spiceball Park at 9pm.

Town mayor Tony Mepham said: "It will be a low-key affair – just a simple ceremony to acknowledge Her Majesty’s ninetieth.

"Members of the public who want to be there are welcome to turn up on the night."

In summer townspeople will take on a royal theme for the annual Old Town Spring Party and Banbury District Show which pulls in crowds of celebrators.

Independent traders will take to the streets amid music, dance and cake to mark Her Majesty's birthday.

South and Vale

Bun throwing, beacon lighting and street parties are quickly filling up the calendar for locals in Southern Oxfordshire.

This week Abingdon Museum has marked Her Majesty turning 90 by opening the royal bun throwing exhibition until July and later in the summer will host Fit for a Queen craft sessions.

Students at The Manor Preparatory School in Abingdon will be hosting their very own street party on Thursday dressed in red, white and blue or as Kings, Queens and princesses among many flags bunting and balloons.

Wantage celebrations will see a two-day party close the Market Place in summer as the Town Council splashes out some £10,000 for live music, cream teas, dog shows and the Wantage Silver Band.

The royal shindig will mark the starts town's 20th Wantage Summer Festival and the council is encouraging local groups and communities not already involved to get in touch.

Little Wittenham and Faringdon will join those up and down the country flying the flag for British celebrations and lighting the Queen's Birthday Beacon.

The Earth Trust will host the royal event on Thursday and the beacon will be lit by South Oxfordshire District Council chairman Margaret Turner at 8.30pm, Earth Trust Centre.

Locals in Faringdon will enjoy singing from the scouts and youth choir, hog roast and late night shopping from 6.30pm in Market Place.

Wallingford locals will follow with a summer party for visitors to enjoy The Queen's celebrations with tea in the Castle Gardens.

Wheatley Parish Council chairman Geoff Stephens said: "Preparations are now well underway for celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday in June. Whatever one’s views about the institution of the monarchy, we can all join in and use the occasion to celebrate someone who has given magnificent commitment and exemplary service to our country."

The wheels are in motion for a right royal knees up in Didcot as the council has had its first meeting to arrange events which is hoped will turn Edmonds Park into a community fair.

Plans hope to include live music, dance, picnics and community group displays from around midday through to early evening.

West Oxfordshire

Witney will join communities in lighting the birthday beacon on Thursday with 90 candles for Her Majesty.

Among them helping to light the beacon will be former town council caretaker Nigel Phillips, 66, from Chipping Norton, who has been involved in community celebrations for every one of The Queen's milestones.

He said: "I was very surprised to be asked to help light the beacon.

"From when I was little I have always been involved in each celebrations for The Queen."

At age three Mr Phillips celebrated Her Majesty's Coronation taking part in a Fancy Dress Parade in Witney, he drove a tractor in a parade for her Silver Jubilee and again for her Golden Jubilee, and organised events with the models and collectors club for The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

On Thursday Mr Phillips will take along the flag to Burwell Recreation Ground which was flown on the day of The Queen's coronation.

There will also be a beacon lighting at Oxlease.

Following this week's celebrations the town will also enjoy a royal rumpus family play day in May, then breakfast with pastries, live bands and a street party at St Mary's church in June.