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Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
UK embraces Jubilee party spirit
The Queen meets well-wishers
The Queen's UK Jubilee tour will continue until August
Britain is gearing up for a party atmosphere as four days of celebrations get underway on Saturday to mark the Queen's 50 years on the throne.

Estimates from the English Tourist Council predict that around one third of Britons will take part in a Golden Jubilee event of some kind over the long bank holiday weekend.

Street parties are being held across the length and breadth of Britain and thousands more will flock to Buckingham Palace for a spectacular classical music concert on Saturday evening.

Andrea Corr
Corrs tune up for the special party

Shedding light on the event will be a total of 1,956 beacons, which are being lit across the UK with many more in all of the Commonwealth countries.

Despite having other things on his mind, England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson still found time to send the Queen a Golden Jubilee card, ahead of Sunday's first match.

World Cup 'boost'

Lord Sterling of Plaistow, chairman of the Golden Jubilee Weekend Trust organising events of the next few days, returned the compliment by pitching for an England victory.

"Hopefully England will win, in which case there will be a zip - even if they don't win, they are not out, so the excitement is still there," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The fact that the jubilee coincided with the start of the World Cup gave an extra boost to the festivities, he added.

Some of the more unusual Jubilee events include an attempt to build a beach in landlocked Stevenage, complete with sand castle competitions, beach volleyball, donkey rides and Punch and Judy show.

Reigate is paying tribute with 50 retail outlets selling some items at 1952 prices.

At 1600 BST, Buckingham Palace gardens will open its gates to 12,000 lucky revellers who secured tickets in the public ballot for the "Prom at the Palace".

Launch new window : LONDON MAP
Click here for a detailed plan of London's celebrations

The concert begins at 2000 BST, with performances by a distinguished line-up, including Dame Kiri Ti Kanawa and Sir Thomas Allen.

The concert, hosted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, will be shown on giant screens in front of Buckingham Palace for those who were unable to get tickets.

Prince Charles is expected to attend, with his long-term companion Camilla Parker Bowles.

The People's Party officially begins on Monday with garden and street parties and a three-hour pop concert at Buckingham Palace.

The performers include Irish pop band The Corrs, ageing rocker Ozzy Osbourne and Pop Idol winner Will Young .

Sound and light show

After the concert, the Queen will go to the front of the Palace - to the statue of Queen Victoria in the Mall - to light the last in a chain of beacons stretching round the UK and the world.

The beacon will be lit by the Millennium flame - which the Queen used to light her beacon on the River Thames on Millennium Eve in 1999 - and will set off a spectacular 15-minute show of fireworks, music and moving images.
Sven-Groan Eriksson
Sven's Jubilee greetings

Overnight on Monday, crowds are expected to start gathering for Tuesday's main events - the state procession in the Golden Coach to St Paul's for a Thanksgiving Service in the morning - and parades and pageants in the Mall throughout the afternoon - followed by a flypast by the RAF and Concorde.

London Underground is providing an all-night tube service after Monday's festivities, for people returning from Jubilee celebrations in the capital, but with restricted entry at busy stations - similar to the Millennium event.

While Saturday will see temperatures soar across much of the country, rain and unsettled weather are expected on Monday and Tuesday.

Temperatures could reach a high of 25C (77F) on Saturday and 20C (68F) on Sunday in the east.

But by Monday an unsettled front will herald rain and sunny spells across much of the country.

But with mixed weather reports and the start of the World Cup, many are also expected to mark the two big occasions at home with family and friends.

Staying in Britain

Many people decided to take advantage of the extended bank holiday and travel to tourist destinations across the UK.

However, about 1.5 million people are set to leave the country for the weekend, only half as many as had been thought.

A spokeswoman for the Association of British Travel Agents said: "The draw of being in Britain this weekend, with the World Cup and the Jubilee celebrations, is quite strong."

In England the holiday stretches to four days whereas in Scotland, people will enjoy three days of celebrations.

The police will be keeping a careful eye that the celebrations do not get out of hand.

More than 10,000 officers will be on duty in a multi-million pound security operation.

The BBC's Jennie Bond
"The concert will end with a new arrangement of the national anthem"
The BBC's Emma Howard
"It would seem the draw of staying in Britain this weekend is huge"

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See also:

01 Jun 02 | England
31 May 02 | Entertainment
31 May 02 | UK
23 Apr 02 | UK
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