Twice in a lifetime for Ashover Queen

Edna presenting 100-year-old with bouquet in 1952
Edna presenting 100-year-old with bouquet in 1952

Ashover’s Coronation Queen of 1952 is set to steal the limelight again as she prepares for a high profile role in the village’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Edna Halksworth, of Yew Croft Farm, Stone Edge, will be starring in the parish anniversary programme on Monday 4 June.

Her duties for the day will include riding through the streets in a 1928 Austin tourer, cutting the ribbon to officially open the celebration and helping to choose winners of various competitions.

What’s more, she will be wearing the same jewelled coronet she wore back in 1952 when she was 15-year-old Edna Keeton, lived in Span Carr and worked at the Co-op in Chesterfield.

Memories of Coronation Day flooded back to Edna this week as she recalled riding through the streets of Ashover on the back of a lorry after being crowned by Mrs Hill, a local JP.

Edna said: “That evening, I should have lit the Coronation bonfire on the fabric but it was so wet that somebody very kindly did it for me.”

She also had fond memories of presenting her floral bouquet to Mrs Keeling who was celebrating her 100th birthday.

Edna said: “In return for the bouquet, she gave me the most wonderful mother of pearl shell as a souvenir of the day and I still keep it in my bedroom.”

Edna was 20 when she married local farmer Ernest Halksworth who died eight years ago.

She now has a son, Peter, twin daughters Julie and Jane, and six grandchildren – several of whom live nearby and will no-doubt help Edna celebrate her second Royal tour of the village.

This year’s May King and Queen, Laurie Kelly and Phoebe Hanauer, will definitely be joining Edna in the Jubilee celebrations, though, as they parade to the Parish Hall where most of the days events will be staged.

The day will include performances from the Ashover Band, a scarecrow trail, treasure hunt, sporting events, a tea dance, memorabilia exhibition and a ‘bring your own food’ street party down the length of the village car park.

Music from two local bands and a ‘quiet fireworks’ display will bring the day to a close.

For more information call Rosemary Early on 01246 590738.