Our magnificent menagerie

Peacock lantern

Patrick Amber gives us his account of the Beacons Lantern Procession. With photos by Patrick Amber, Neill Schofield, Sarah Truman, Deborah Blencowe and Jackie Jones:

“From my privileged position of workshop leader, I can tell you that the amount of creative input into this year’s lanterns was truly impressive and inspiring.

“Over the four weeks leading up to the procession, I ran around local groups and projects with a soaked bundle of willow under one arm and my rucksack stuffed with PVA and reams of tissue paper and supplies – working with kids and adults, familiar and fresh faces; all eager and dedicated to constructing their creations.

“I could never have predicted a giraffe-a-corn, a charm of goldfinches, a Star Wars TIE-fighter or all the other countless cute and curious creations. The procession itself was magical. We were led into the woods at nightfall by the hypnotic rhythms of the Sheffield Samba Band.

“This gave us the chance to watch in awe each other’s lanterns as we made our way to the viewpoint where we were greeted by an enormous, multi-coloured spider! A monstrous beast created by Carol and the children from Watercliffe Meadow Community Primary School. What a delightful night on Parkwood Springs!

“What’s more, the weather held out, teasing us with a short burst of rain before treating us to a dusky pink sunset at the viewpoint. Time to revel and mingle before re-entering the woods; illuminating the way with our magnificent menagerie. All along the way people marvelled and remarked how this surely was the biggest and best Beacons procession yet. I’d have to agree!”