Queens of springtime

First published in Memory Lane Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

May Queens and maypole dancing have been part of Oxfordshire life for many years.

These pictures show some of the happy occasions from the past. Picture 1 was taken on a dismal day at St Ebbe’s School, Oxford, in 1969.

Bad weather meant the celebrations were moved indoors. The maypole was hastily erected and decorations put up in a school room so no-one was disappointed.

East Oxford School had a great tradition of celebrating the May festival. Picture 2 shows Patricia Norris, 14, being crowned May Queen in 1962 by Wendy Taylor.

In Picture 3, sent in by Janet Halford, of Swale Drive, Didcot, May Queen Sylvia Gaisford leads her entourage through Osney Island in Oxford after her crowning in the early 1950s.

Mrs Halford, whose maiden name was England, writes: “I lived on the island for 50 years and still visit.”

Picture 4 shows Iffley School’s May Queen, Pat Bensley, with her escort Ernest Horwood and attendants in 1956.

Pupils at Headington Junior School turned their May Day into a fundraising event, in aid of the school and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital Wishing Well.

More than 100 pupils, some of whom are seen in Picture 5, took part in a display of maypole and country dancing, while stalls were manned by older pupils, parents and staff.

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