With Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee taking place in June, the leaders of the Church in the United Kingdom also wanted to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne and of her commitment to serve her people for the rest of her life. Following the queen’s example of commitment and service, each ward and branch was invited to choose a day of service in honor of the queen’s jubilee. During these service days members completed thousands of hours of service.
Within the boundaries of the Norwich England Stake lies Sandringham Palace, the summer home of Queen Elizabeth. Members of the stake gave over 1,000 hours of voluntary service in recognition of the queen’s anniversary.
Members from Mildenhall and Thetford cleaned and refurbished a large staircase at a public building owned by Breckland District Council. The project was organized by the Eagle Scouts based in the American Scout troops organized by the Church. The council officers who assigned the project said that they have had voluntary groups regularly completing projects before, but that the LDS group arrived early, were ready to work immediately, and stayed beyond the planned finish time—going the extra mile.
Other projects around the stake involved clearing rubbish from a public eyesore and working in the garden of a primary school that had become neglected when the gardener was injured. Family groups also worked at Smithdon High School in Hunstanton. They cleared the gardens and the playing field of litter; painted the wood of newly built tables, seats, and fences; cleaned windows; and moved stacks of paper to the printing room. The school headteacher, Mr. J. Goodchild, expressed his praise and appreciation to all those who participated in the service project. Staff members at the school were very surprised and pleased by the volume of work completed.
“The most important thing is the wonderful impression left in the minds and hearts of the communities and groups blessed by this service,” said Lawrence Vingoe, Norwich England Stake president.
Warwick, England, is the home of Warwick Castle—the home of knights of the realm and noble servants of monarchs for centuries. Members of the Coventry England Stake spent their day of service cleaning an area in the town, leaving it “fit for a queen.” Mike Kinson, chair of Warwick District Council, cancelled a prior engagement elsewhere to be with the Saints. He was impressed by the large number of volunteers who were present—in the rain—and expressed his gratitude for their work.
York was the ancient capital of the Viking kingdom and was a vital defensive stronghold in the north of England for centuries. Today it is the center of the York England Stake. Members supported a jubilee fair in Bridlington that was provided free for the elderly and for underprivileged families. Other projects around the stake included creating a cinder path for hikers and walkers along Monks Trod in Whitby and cleaning a cemetery in York.
In Dundee, Scotland, members worked at a school for children with special needs. They cleared and tilled a large section of ground, removed stones, planted grass seed, and made bird-scarers. The area is to become a large grassed area for whole-school outdoor activities. Michael Wood, the director of education for the Dundee City Council, attended and thanked the volunteers.
Cardiff, Wales, hosted the BYU Singers and used the proceeds to benefit the Noah’s Ark Appeal, the official charity of the Children’s Hospital for Wales. An additional project cleared invasive weeds from the Taff Trail, a 55-mile (89 km) biking and walking trail between Cardiff Bay and Brecon in Wales.
Among the many projects in Cheshire and North Wales, the members of the Chester England Stake worked at the Pewithall Primary School in Runcorn, preparing ground for an outdoor classroom and helping to create a woodland education path.
Saints in Leeds, England, supported St. Gemma’s Hospice in their fundraising efforts, while Thundersley Primary School in Essex, England, had their PTA room refurbished. In Warrington, Cheshire, a park was cleaned in preparation for a jubilee carnival. Members of the Glasgow Scotland Stake spent their day of service at Firhill Basin on the Forth and Clyde Canal.
The Wandsworth London Stake chose to support Stave Hill Ecology Park, a 5.2-acre nature area in Rotherhithe, London, that conserves a variety of wildlife and is managed by the Trust for Urban Ecology. In addition to being a nature area, it is also an education and research facility. Members spent time weeding, removing debris, building a fence, building insect boxes, and making a mosaic pathway.
The sisters of the Northampton Stake supported three projects. One group provided cushions for a women’s shelter in Bletchley, Milton Keynes. Another group made quilts for the Project Linus UK charity, which seeks to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick, distressed, and traumatized infants, children, and teenagers through providing new homemade patchwork quilts. Approximately 12 quilts were finished and 30 cushions made on Saturday, June 2, 2012. The third group sang for residents of a local home, St. Argyll House, Northampton.
The First Presidency also sent a letter of congratulations to Her Majesty in recognition of her long service to her people. It read in part: “We rejoice with Her Majesty’s people … and commend her for her love of God, her acts of charity, and her sublime example of service and duty.”