What were you doing on 2 June 1953? I was an over-excited seven year old, crammed with dozens of other children into a neighbour's living room, watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth on a nine inch television screen. The country hadn't seen such festivities since VE Day, eight years earlier. Our streets were decorated with red, white and blue bunting, interspersed with gold coloured cardboard crowns. We had street parties and games and the whole world seemed to be a happy, fun-filled place, especially as sweet rationing had ended a few months earlier and we children were given bags of sweets and chocolate.
The young queen brought hope to the nation still suffering the after-effects of war. The ubiquitous song of that time sounds corny now but it really was on the lips of everyone from schoolchildren to bus conductors, shopkeepers and roadsweepers.
Of course, the television coverage that we watched was in black and white and the tv screen was tiny but it was still magical. We were to see the splendid colourful spectacle in the cinema later.
Coronation fever seemed to last for months. Our school year always ended with a "Field Day." We walked in procession with brass bands, banners and morris dancers to a field several miles away where our parents had been busy erecting stalls for the sale of cakes, fizzy drinks and ice cream. There were swing boats and roundabouts, coconut shies and hoopla. We had dancing displays and races; it was one of the highlights of our year. My class was chosen to present a pageant of the coronation. The golden coach was replaced by a flatbed trailer. Bernadette Beasley was chosen to be the Queen and I was one of her six ladies-in-waiting. (That's me standing behind her majesty)
The pictures, like me, show signs of their age but they bring back very happy memories of a lost time of simple, innocent enjoyment. I lost touch with all the other children in these photos when I moved to a different school but I know what the real queen has achieved in the 60 years of her reign; few people can match her devotion to duty - all her promises fulfilled.