A SOUTHAMPTON library has kicked off the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations by hosting a community event and planting a tree. 

Bitterne Library in Southampton invited the new Lord Mayor, Cllr Jacqui Rayment to plant the tree, as part of the Queen's Green Canopy (QGC). 

To mark the momentous anniversary, more than a hundred saplings will be planted across Southampton's parks. 

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On Saturday, around 50 people gathered at the library, in Bitterne Road East, to celebrate with some tea and scones.  

The event was organised in part by library supervisor, Barbara McCaffery, who told the Echo: "It is a great turnout and I am amazed to see so many people here. 

"The sun came out, the cakes were put out, and the people came out. It's been wonderful."Daily Echo:

Barbara explained the significance of the tree. She said: "We are so lucky to have a garden out here at the library, and not many libraries have a garden. So when we heard the Queen was doing a canopy and asking people to plant trees, we thought it'd be great to plant a tree at ours as part of that scheme." 

Lord Mayor Rayment said: "Today is a wonderful opportunity to say thank you to the community that uses the Bitterne library garden and takes part in all the community activities here. Daily Echo:

She added: "It's a great open space for so many people to come together today to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee, plant a tree and see people enjoying the tea and cake and lovely weather.

"So it's been a great afternoon and it looks like everyone is enjoying each other's company. I am really delighted to be invited."

Belinda Stretch, a regular visitor to the library and a mum of four, told the Echo: "We are really happy. We have a big family get-together planned for the jubilee celebrations. It's been really nice because we usually get together for Christmas, but because of Covid we really haven't had a chance. So this is going to be the first time we are all in the same room." Daily Echo:

Belinda's children also took part in a competition to draw a portrait of the Queen.

All three of them won a gift hamper, which was presented to them by Cllr Rayment. Daily Echo:

The children's grandmother, Coral Read, said: "I am so proud of my grandchildren. I think they all drew some really nice portraits of the Queen, and we are all very happy to be here."