MEMORY LANE: Flashback to the 1970s with Whaley Bridge Rose Queen Festival

Angela is crowned as Whaley Bridge Rose Queen in 1976.
Angela is crowned as Whaley Bridge Rose Queen in 1976.

Whaley Bridge’s big summer event, the Rose Queen Festival, celebrates its 40th anniversary on Saturday June 27.

Organisers, looking back to 1975 when the festival was first taken over by a village committee to launch the new era, want people to celebrate the vivid spirit of the 70s – pop, fashions, extraordinary stories, the start of modern sports heroes.

Whaley Bridge Rose Queen Royalty, 1976.

Whaley Bridge Rose Queen Royalty, 1976.

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Angela with husband 'Joe' Jose Santos Rosa.

Angela with husband 'Joe' Jose Santos Rosa.

Tim Mourne, who was re-elected as chairman at the recent annual general meeting, said: “We can see some wonderful entries in the parade this summer, inspired by the 70s. Think of all the pop stars and fashions.

“We are working on the idea of a 70s disco some time on carnival day. We are also inviting former royalty from those early years to get in touch, and tell us their stories and memories.”

The patchy history of the Rose Queen goes back to 1914, just before the start of the First World War.

There were no festivals in the war years, and records are sparse during the 1920s. The festival was run by different organisations, at one time the British Legion and then for a number of years members of St James’ Church, Taxal.

Tony Mackey was the first chairman of the new committee set up in 1975, which made it an event covering all of Whaley Bridge.

Forty years later, he is president of the committee. His daughter Angela was the Rose Queen in 1976.

Angela remembers her big day when she was 12, one of the younger queens from the High Peak: “There were lots of mums and dads involved. My mum made my dress. The queen had her retinue, and the rosebud had one as well, so we made quite a picture.

“Our float, a Ken Fab lorry, was often judged the best as we went to other carnivals.

“I remember it had lovely trellis work, all hand-made by volunteers, and lots of paper flowers. They were made of crepe paper, so were easily damaged in rain. Now people make them from plastic!”