It was carnival day fun all the way as Whaley Bridge Rose Queen festival avoided the rain on Saturday – but in the run up to the World War 1 centenary there was still time for tributes to Britain’s wartime heroes. Two highlights drew applause from the crowds: a life size and very lifelike WW1 tank in the parade, filled with children from Buxworth primary school, and then a flypast from an RAF Hurricane fighter.
The tank, built in wood by a Chapel engineering company, was a replica of one of the early British models in 2015, that eventually changed the course of World War I. In the Whaley parade, it was towed by Buxworth man Jack Hardman’s vintage steamroller, also built in 2015, before the world’s first tank was built. The roller, too, has a WW1 history: it was used in forestry work, carrying wood planks, destined for the trenches in France.
Saul Parry 47, who works in the maintenance department of Kelsa truck accessories factory at Bowden Lane, Chapel, made the tank from photographs, all in two days last week. It was constructed of plywood (Saul used to make exhibition boards for such places as the NEC and has also made theatre sets for Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. )
He was given a huge amount of help by JamesDavies, 15, from Buxworth, a work experience student at Kelsa last week. Saul asked James “Do you know anything about tanks?” James’ reply:” Actually, I do!” He helped to create the tank tracks and the guns, as well as painting the tank. He’s a student at Hope Valley College
The original idea came from Amy Longdon, whose children go to Buxworth School. She’s a director of Kelsa.
The Hawker Hurricane roared over the Bowling Club arena, just as the Billerettes finished their show. Applause was drowned out by the Rolls Royce Merlin engine, as the famous fighter from the RAF Memorial Flight made three passes over Whaley Bridge.
Tim Mourne,in his first year as chairman, said: “We were delighted to be able to make these two gestures at this time of national memories. I loved the tank. Overall, the carnival success – we could have done with some sun, but at least it didn’t rain on our parade.”
Outgoing Rose Queen Annabel Wilde, 14, missed her farewell party through illness. The parade was led by Princess Amelia Carden-Howe, 12, supported by her little sister Harriet, in the parade float.
Annabel’s traditional speech of thanks to visiting royalty at the Court of Queens was read for her by MC David Lomax. One of the visitors, Alexandria Howard, 15, the Ashgate Hospice personality queen, was using a medical walking stick as she made her reply. She had torn a ligament less than a week earlier. Alexandria said: ” I’ve been in carnivals for 14 years. I couldn’t miss Whaley Bridge.”
Chairman Tim is now looking to 2015, the 40th anniversary of the modern Rose Queen festival. He said: “We want to make next year really special. Thanks to the committee, the volunteers and all who supported us.
“A big thank you to the British Caving Association for loaning us their artificial cave. It was very popular with youngsters. We definitely want it for next year.”
Another fun day for Whaley Bridge is on the way.
Whaley Bridge’s Family Games, launched by the Rose Queen committee last year as a spin off from Derbyshire Village Games, will be held at the football ground and astroturf pitch from 12 noon-2pm next Sunday, 6 July. Events include family orienteering and tug of war,a family decathlon challenge, and gentler activities like hockey dribbles, skipping and sack races. Bring trainers for the astroturf pitch.