AROUND 200 people enjoyed three live musical performances at the Tolbooth beacon fanfare last night.

Pipers from Forres and District Pipe Band, cornet player Imogen Symon and Forres Youth Choir entertained from 9.30-9.45pm ahead of the big switch-on – the local contribution to Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon ceremonies across the UK and Commonwealth.

Moray Council co-leader and former Forres Community Council chairwoman, Kathleen Robertson, helped organise the event with the help of Forres Community Activities Association.

She said: “The timing and precision of the performances were perfect and it was nice to see so many young people. It was also great to have the Royal British Legion (Scotland) Forres standard bearers involved.

“It’s a pity it wasn’t dark enough to see the Tolbooth beacon lights properly at the time but they will be best appreciated in the wee small hours!

“It was a great turnout for a late evening event – I hope it’s the same for the Toun Mercat on Friday night and Party in the Park on Sunday afternoon!”

Forres Heritage Trust (FHT) vice chairman, Bob James, supplied and set up the LED lights and timer on the clock tower on Wednesday, set for illumination at 9.45pm last night.

Fellow FHT members, George Alexander and Billy Laing, draped a Union Jack on the building’s west face just before the performances.

The sun set on the flag at the end of a fine day as the pipers performed ‘Diu Regnare’ above the crowd on the clock tower walkway. The tune was composed as a tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by founder and Pipe Major of the World Champion Pipe Band, Stuart Liddell.

Forres Academy pupil, Imogen Symon (12), then played ‘Majesty’ on her cornet, penned by bugler Sergeant A.W. Carlisle of Hillsborough Fort Guard, Northern Ireland especially for the events across the UK.

Imogen said: “I was nervous but I think it went quite well. I’ve been learning for five years with Mr James Gray of Forres Academy. I have played live once before, during Remembrance at St John’s Church last year.”

The instruments were followed by Forres Youth Choir singing ‘A Life Lived With Grace’, commissioned by Commonwealth Resounds and written by Lucy Kiely. The song’s emotional chorus ‘A life lived with grace, A heart filled with love, Peace on earth and harmony in the heavens above’ was enthusiastically applauded by the crowd.

Moray’s Lord Lieutenant, Major General Seymour Monro, thanked the young singers conducted by Heather Sim, who had waited patiently to shine in front of the large audience.

As the bells of St Laurence Church chimed, he told them: “You sang beautifully on a very special evening. Well done.”

Choir accompanist Hazel Gray confirmed the group has been running since October and their first concert is scheduled for June 20.

She said: “It was lovely to see young people being part of a Royal event.”

Rev Hamilton Inbadas runs Forres Youth Choir from St John’s Church.

He said: “This was their inaugural performance and a great a great opportunity to launch locally. Forres has a strong choral tradition and the youth choir is an ideal introduction for young people here.”

Lord Lt Maj Gen Seymour Monro finished: “It was wonderful to see so many people all ages taking part in such a special programme. The coronet player, pipers and choir performed brilliantly in front of the big crowd. What a gathering to set off a happy weekend.”