Nostalgia: Memories of Royal-tea remain special for former Chorley St Peter’s Rose Queen Jean

Chorley St Peter's School Summer Fair Rose Queens going back to 1943 gathered a reunion in 2001, with the 2001 queen Charlotte Gibson in the centre
Chorley St Peter's School Summer Fair Rose Queens going back to 1943 gathered a reunion in 2001, with the 2001 queen Charlotte Gibson in the centre
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Jean Kitchen felt like royalty as she was invited to have tea with the vicar. Back then, the 77-year-old was the Rose Queen for the Chorley St Peter’s School in 1954, aged 11.

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Jean Kitchen as Chorley St Peter's Church Rose Queen in 1954

Jean Kitchen as Chorley St Peter's Church Rose Queen in 1954

She reveals: “I attended St Peter’s Sunday School.

“I was quite surprised to be chosen, as there were a lot of children there.

“It was a special day. We had a garden party on the vicarage lawn at the back of St Peter’s Church.

“I remember having tea with the vicar – Harry Simpson.

I remember having tea with the vicar – Harry Simpson. I enjoyed that. It was a bit of a novelty and he was so nice.

Jean Kitchen

“I enjoyed that. It was a bit of a novelty and he was so nice.

“The year after my friend and neighbour Sheila Moorcroft took over. It was nice to see her do it.”

Jean, a mother-of two, would attend Sunday School every afternoon after church.

She recalls: “Sunday School took up most of the day but I enjoyed it. We read a lot of Bible stories. My sister, Christine Hunter, is a Sunday school teacher. Her daughter, Anne Radcliffe, was also a Rose Queen.

“I remember going to a church in Preston with all the other Rose Queens that year.

“My dad took me in the car and we got stuck at the crossing in Bamber Bridge for ages, which made me late.”

Jean, who used to work at ROF (Royal Ordnance Factory) in Euxton, also recalls her time at St Peter’s Primary School.

But it was the bus journeys to the swimming baths which were more memorable.

She says: “I remember being at the school when we heard about King George VI’s death.

“I also remember school trips to Union Street swimming baths. #

“We used to catch the bus and our teacher had to collect 1p from us.

“Some pupils didn’t have the money, so the teacher was not happy as they had to pay.

“Mr Derbyshire was our swimming instructor.

“He used to terrify us and make us jump in. I never liked water after that.”

In 2001, Jean attended a reunion at Chorley St Peter’s School where Rose Queens from as far back as 1943 attended.

She is pictured on the back row fourth from left.

She adds: “They got as many of the previous Rose Queens as possible together and we had a get together. There was a buffet.

“It was lovely to see people I had not seen for some years.”