West Yorkshire’s Queen memories

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From being handed Maundy money to attending garden parties, receiving honours and lining the streets to give Her Majesty a royal welcome to the county, people across West Yorkshire have been moved by the Queen in the 63 years she has reigned.

Her Majesty celebrated becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history on Wednesday.

Joyce Bellamy of Ackworth, Pontefract, was among the thousands of people who lined Whitehall in London, to get a glimpse of the Queen as she arrived and left her coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

She and future husband Gordon Bellamy queued from 8pm the previous night and waited more than 12 hours for the Queen to pass by at 11am that morning.

Mrs Bellamy, then 23, said: “We just caught a glimpse of the procession as she went in to the Abbey and she came very close to us as she came out.

“She turned her head and looked straight at me. It was very patriotic. We were all waving flags.”

“It was very exciting. There was lots of very jolly people. Everyone was singing and cheering.”

Sheila Dilley, from Lupset, also visited London to watch the coronation.

Her parents took her and her sister Christine on a surprise visit to London.

She said: “We were so very excited.

“We arrived in London and made our way up to The Mall and settled in with a bird’s eye view right at the front of the crowds.

“When the golden coach came along everyone was shouting with excitement and my dad had bought us a periscope so we could turn it around to see all that was going off. We were two very lucky little girls and to this day I still talk about it.”

Sylvia Kendrew, of Airedale, remembers her mother Florence Hossack, receiving a package from the future Queen shortly after she married the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947.

The princess sent food parcels to poor families, made up from her wedding gifts.

Mrs Kendrew, 79, said: “I have always remembered it because it made my mum so pleased. There was a pineapple in it and we didn’t even know what it was.”

Richard Sloan met the Queen when he was awarded an MBE for his services to medicine and healthcare in the county in 2011.

He said: “The Queen pinned the medal on me and she was lovely and am sure noticed my anxiety.

“We had all been taught how to address her (Your Majesty the first time but only after she speaks first and then “Ma’am” pronounced like jam.

“We had a lovely chat about my work as a GP trainer and the last thing she said to me was “I think GPs are very important.”

Anne Jackson’s late father James (Jim) Firth, of Stanley, painted the above picture of the Queen when she visited Wakefield to hand out Maundy money.

Ms Jackson said: “He painted it using a photograph of her in a magazine. I think it is a good likeness to Queen Elizabeth back in 2005. I wanted to share it as a remembrance and tribute to my Dad’s love of painting as a hobby and past time during his retirement.”

Halifax shop-owner Ovais Akhtar met her and the Duke of Edinburgh when they visited the town’s Piece Hall in May 2004.

He took his two daughters, Saerah Akhtar, then nine, and Hannah Akhtar, then seven, to catch sight of the pair and was lucky enough to speak them.

Mr Akhtar, 48, who runs the newsagents on Union Street, said: “The Queen asked me if I lived locally and I told her I ran the newsagents.

“She then asked who was running it at the moment and I said that my wife Shabnam was and we had a little giggle.

“The Duke asked me a similar question when he walked past.

“To get a chance to see them was great but to actually speak to them was just amazing.

“We were just standing at the front of the crowd and we were lucky as The Queen approached us and spoke to me.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience and I will never forget it.”

Calderdale councillor Geraldine Carter was the Mayor of Calderdale when Her Majesty visited Halifax in 2004.

She said: “The sun shone and the crowds came out. I have always said that it has been one of the major highlights of my life.

“Little did I think that not only would I meet the Queen but that I would be at her side for about an hour and have an opportunity for a very informal conversation.”

Eight-eight-year-old Ron Goodall from Halifax was selected to become a Royal Marines crew member, when the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh embarked on a Commonwealth tour in 1953 to 1954.

He was picked to join ‘royal yacht’ S.S. Gothic in Australia and spent three months on board the ship as it sailed home through the Indian Ocean, calling at Aden and Tobruk.

He said: “It was one of the happiest times of my life.

“We were kept busy doing all sorts of tasks and worked very hard but we loved what we were doing.”

Mr Goodall, who was in his late twenties at the time, added: “It just became normal to see the Queen and Duke. Everybody walked around the decks.

“They attended lots of functions for the royal party but they both seemed so ordinary.”

Marjorie Wright, of Tingley, was one of the people taking part in the Queen’s coronation day procession in London.

Mrs Wright, who was a physical training instructor with the RAF, based at Stafford, was selected to march in the parade with the RAF contingent.

She trained for six weeks for the special occasion and marched for nearly 14 miles on the day.

She said: “It was fantastic. There were millions watching. Everybody was waving flags and shouting. I felt very proud to have been selected.”

Shortly after her coronation, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the area on October 28, 1954, as part of a tour of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Thousands lined the streets to see them.

They began their journey in Dewsbury, arriving at the town’s railway station and making their way to the town hall.

There was a meat tea for the town’s elderly poor and 135 children were given new boots, stockings and a hat.

The royals then visited Batley where they were greeted by the mayor, mayoress and town clerk.

They signed the visitors’ book before inspecting a display of goods manufactured in the town.

They also visited Morley, where there was a celebratory military parade, and stopped at Morley Town Hall for coffee.

Sixty-one years later, bells will ring out across the area to celebrate The Queen’s milestone.

On Sunday, the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers will be visiting St. John the Evangelist Church in Cleckheaton to ‘ring a peal’.