THERE’S only one day to go before the Armed Forces fire the starting gun for one of the biggest four-day weekends York and North and East Yorkshire have known.

The final preparations are under way today from the Humber estuary to the Tees River and from the Yorkshire coast to the Pennines as the country prepares to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in a whirl of street parties, parades, fancy dress competitions, hog roasts, dances, tea parties, sports competitions, flower festivals, concerts, tree planting, firework displays, beacon-lighting and thanksgiving services.

Members of the Armed Forces are making sure their uniforms, weapons and instruments are in perfect condition.

Tomorrow, precisely at noon, soldiers from the 103 Regiment Royal Artillery (V) will fire a Royal Salute in York’s Museum Gardens to mark Coronation Day.

Members of the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps and the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band will also take part in the ceremony.

More servicemen and women will join in York’s celebrations in the evening when the Band of the Regiment of Fusillers and the Royal Corps of Signals will perform with the Colne Valley Male Voice Choir at the Barbican Centre.

The Highways Agency and transport authorities have been gearing up for four days of exceptionally busy roads as people make their way by car, bus, train and foot from one Jubilee event to another. Scores of roads will be closed for street parties across York, North Yorkshire and East Yorkshire, and others will be closed or partially shut for Jubilee parades.

Event organisers will be watching the weather closely. Forecasters predict a mostly dry but cool weekend with variable cloud and some sunshine on Saturday. There is a risk of cloud and rain during Sunday and Monday, especially in the south of the area.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire Ambulance Service is appealing for everyone to take care, and not dial 999 unless it is a real emergency, as GPs’ surgeries will be shut.

Vince Larvin, locality director for emergency operations, said: “We are not trying to stop people having a good time or deter them from using our service in a genuine emergency, but to help us ensure we can reach those who need us the most, we simply ask that members of the public look after themselves and others and use our service responsibly.”