Council to commemorate D-Day 80 with beacon lighting at East Strand, Portrush

Council to commemorate D-Day 80 with beacon lighting at East Strand, Portrush

Mon, May 20, 2024

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council will pay tribute to those who played a part in the D-Day landings by lighting a special beacon at the East Strand, Portrush.

Thursday, June 6, 2024 marks 80 years since D-Day, which represented a major turning point in World War II. Codenamed Operation Overlord, around 4,000 ships and landing craft set down about 132,500 Allied troops on five Normandy beaches, in what remains the largest amphibious invasion in history. The military success of D-Day would ultimately spell the beginning of the end of Nazi occupation in Europe.

Council will join with communities across the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories to recognise this significant occasion and commemorate the heroism and sacrifices of those involved in the Normandy invasion.

The event will provide an opportunity to bring people together to mark this historic moment and will offer a number of unique experiences for attendees, including the chance to see a number of World War II vehicles displayed across the beach.

Army Cadets, Sea Cadets, Air Training Corps, along with members of the Royal British Legion and other veteran organisations, will also be in attendance.

The proceedings will commence with a performance by the Pipes and Drums of 152 North Irish Regiment Royal Logistics Corps at 8.45pm. This will be followed by a short ceremony led by Rev Dr JI Thompson, President of the RBL Group 10, who will read the International Tribute.

Council will then join with other local authorities across the UK and northern France in lighting their beacons at 9.15pm. The Portrush beacon will be lit by County Antrim Deputy Lord Lieutenant Stephen Bailie, accompanied by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

The evening will close with the National Anthem being played by the 152 RLC Pipes and Drums.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Steven Callaghan said: “I am proud that Council has chosen to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in such a poignant manner.

“I hope that this event will bring people together to remember and honour those that fought for our tomorrow and the heroic sacrifices they made.”

Alderman Michelle Knight-McQuillan, chair of the Councils’ Coronation sub-committee, said: “This lighting of the Beacon will be known as the Lighting of the Peace and I hope it will bring with it a feeling of peace, tranquillity and optimism for those in attendance.

“We have a wealth of stunning beaches in our Borough and so I cannot think of a better place to mark this historic occasion in Northern Ireland.”

Alderman Knight-McQuillan, who herself is the chair of the Garvagh branch of the Royal British Legion, called for veterans and the public alike to come and witness the beacon lighting.

“I think it is important we remember the sacrifices made by those who fought on D-Day. Please come along and help commemorate those who fought for our future,” she added.

More information on the anniversary celebrations can be found here.