Illuminate the valley

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PREPARATIONS are well underway for the 115th birthday celebrations of the Matlock Bath Illuminations.

The annual tradition – which was first held to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee – will be launched on Saturday 1 September at 7pm.

As ever, the festival will bring the Derwent Valley to life with a procession of illuminated boats and firework displays.

The opening ceremony will see the judging of the illuminated boats, with entertainment from Ashbourne Town Band in the district council’s Derwent Gardens bandstand.

Tony Millward, Chairman of the District of the Derbyshire Dales, will push the button on September 1 to bring the new season to life.

He said: “Matlock Bath Illuminations bring in visitors from far and wide and provide a big boost to the local economy.

“I’m delighted to be involved in the switch-on ceremony, especially in Diamond Jubilee year.

“It was her recollections of a visit to Matlock Bath as a young princess that prompted the village to celebrate with lights for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 – and it is magnificent that this tradition still survives today.”

The unique parade of illuminated boats will take place from 8pm every Saturday and Sunday evening until October 27 and can be viewed from Derwent Gardens.

Spectacular cliff top firework displays will also take place at 9pm on September 15 and 29 as well as October 13 and 27.

Park and Ride services operate on firework nights from 5pm from Derbyshire County Council Offices car park to Matlock Bath Station and from Cromford Meadows to Matlock Bath Pavilion.

Prices for this year’s event will be £4.50 for adults and £4 for the over 60s. There is no charge for accompanied children under 16 or for disabled people and their carer.

Advance tickets are available from the Peak District Mining Museum and online at www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/illuminations.

Tickets are also available on the night from the Ticket Office behind the Grand Pavilion in Matlock Bath.