On the 2nd June 1953 the whole of the British Commonwealth celebrated the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Villages around Britain held their own parties and the poster shown below was created to advertise the celebrations to be held in Great Witley at the time. The Queen, then aged 25, succeeded her father King George VI when he died on February 6, 1952. But it was not until June 2, 1953, when she was 26, that she was crowned at Westminster Abbey.
John Fortey remembers helping to build a beacon for the village: “When in the Abberley and Witley Scouts, with my friends, John Taylor, Brian Rea and others, we were taught many woodcraft skills. We all carried sheath knives, ex-army clasp knives. One task was for the Scouts to build the Coronation beacon on top of Abberley Hill, about 100 yards from the trig point. Some of us camped on the site. We borrowed a Ferguson tractor, we knew how to drive it, and use pulleys and ropes. The owner of the ground said we could cut down any hawthorn trees and we split a flagpole which had fallen down a few years before. Using 3 and 6 pound axes we felled the trees (even now I can fell a tree to within 10 yards of where it should fall), in all 22 tons of wood, 40 gallons of old engine oil and 45 old tyres went into the beacon. The weather had been dry and hot until Coronation Day but on that day it poured down with rain all day. The beacon was lit in the evening. It roared away and we were all very pleased about the rain. The weights were worked out by Phil King, our Scoutmaster, also a farmer, hence the tractor. We were about 15 years old at the time.”