Harpole Rose Queen Parade

The history of the Rose Queen Parade goes back to the days just after the Second World War.

The headmaster at the time Mr Calderwood was being badgered to involve the children of the school in fundraising events for the village, but he was conscious that it may be seen as taking sides if the children raised money for one project and so could upset someone else.

The Welfare Association helped everyone in the parish so Mr Calderwood thought that this was something the children could be involved in raising funds for.

Various ideas were discussed on what could be celebrated, it was thought to stay away from May Day celebrations but to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in June 1953.

Much planning went into the June event which was to be based on the Rush Bearing Ceremonies of Westmorland, which was Mrs Calderwood’s birthplace, the ceremony involve children carrying baskets of flowers to the local church, the school thought that this procession would be a good idea and would be something that could involve all of the 80 pupils. The ‘queen’ was chosen by the older children, a tradition that has continued through to the present day.

A procession was planned which would go round the village streets led by the Silver Band, originally the procession would be led to Knights Close followed by Maypole and Country Dancing.

The Rose Queen led her attendants & supporters dressed in ivory and carrying fresh flowers both in her hair and in a basket, The Queen was pulled around the village on a cart by older boys & Dads, the cart would also be covered in flowers all donated by the villagers.

Today the Rose Queen Fete closely follows the traditions of previous years, although the cart is now sadly broken beyond repair, the cart was replaced with a milk float and recently a vintage car – how times have changed.

We now have a new ‘Rose Queen Cart’ which has been designed with the help of the school children, funded by FOHS and very kindly built by Ian Mockett.

The Boys Brigade had led the procession for many years, but due to their low numbers they haven’t had enough band members for at least 3 years and a local band called Liberty Drum Corps have stepped in and have been amazing.