JUDY Tasker was a popular choice as May Queen at her school, but she hid a little secret.
“We chose the May Queen by written votes in the class. I’m ashamed to say I voted for myself, so that is how I became May Queen of 1950,” she confessed.
She has kept a diary of her special day at St Nicholas Primary School, in Old Marston, Oxford, which took place 60 years ago on Thursday.
She writes: “The May Day event was so important at the time, not only to school life but to the church and village.
“Great planning went into May Day, particularly practising maypole dancing and morris dancing.
“We were taught by Mrs Morton, rehearsing in the field opposite the school.
“My dress was made by Mrs Sprittles and I believe her husband made the crown, fashioned from tin.
“Money at the time was tight – my shoes were white plimsolls with ribbon instead of laces to ‘tart’ them up.
“I was very proud of my dress and, of course, of being May Queen.”
Written invitations to attend the crowning ceremony were sent to village dignitaries from “Her Majesty, the May Queen-elect”.
One of the replies read: “Mrs Constable thanks Her Majesty for her very kind invitation and will be most pleased to come to the May Day celebrations and to tea.
“Will Her Majesty accept this headdress as a small gift from her most humble servant, hoping that the day will be fine and that it will be a happy day and one Her Royal Highness will always remember.“ The ceremony was held at Alan Court, in Old Marston, a house owned by Mr Wood, which had a circular lawn, ideal for maypole dancing as guests sat around the edge.
Judy, now Judy Waters, of Colchester, Essex, recalls: “My maids of honour, Virginia Belsen and Jean Machon, and I carried bouquets.
“We assembled at school in Mrs Morton’s class, then proceeded to the church at about 3pm. I felt nervous.
“The May Queen was always preceded by a standard bearer carrying the Union flag.
“Behind me and my maids of honour came the large May garlands. The garlands were made by the mums. There was a competition for the best garland and I presented the prizes.
“After the church service, we proceeded to Alan Court. My maids of honour and I sat on a podium and I was duly crowned Queen of the May by Ellen Phipps, the previous Queen.
“The dancing display then began with each class performing and the festivities were rounded off with a special tea in the old Reading Room.
“I record in my diary that it was a lovely tea and I had a large plate of ice cream.”
The day was made even more special for her as her aunt and cousin had arrived from America and were able to enjoy the event.
Any other May Day memories to share with readers?
Write and let us know.