THE Rose Queen picture coronation picture which appeared on a Looking Back page in January triggered some right royal memories.

The crowning ceremony at St Margaret’s Halliwell was immediately recognisable to Sheila Worthington because the rose queen in the picture is her daughter, Alison Ottley.

The picture was taken in 1973 and Alison (now Wadsworth and now aged 56) is surrounded by 13 attendants and two page boys.

St Margaret’s is named in honour of Queen Margaret of Scotland and Mrs Worthington explained that the church was granted permission to use the Royal Stewart tartan for the occasion. Three page boys, including Stephen Heron and Alison’s brother, Andrew Ottley, wore the specially made kilts.

The girls’ dresses, all made among the congregation, were white with red flowers, decorated with a red velvet band.

Alison’s dress was made by a member of the congregation, a Mrs Airey, but the train was sent to Bolton College to be embroidered with a thistle (again for the Scottish link) by college students.

Mrs Worthington, who has attended St Margaret’s since 1964, said: “We used to raise money for the rose queen ceremony with coffee mornings and by holding little shows. We would raise about £200 over the year — back then it was a lot of money.”

She said St Margaret’s, led in 1973 by the Rev Stanley Rogers, used to join with other churches for a Festival of Queens which would be held in Bolton town centre. She said up to 120 churches would take part in the annual event.

Mrs Worthington was able to name several other children in the picture from 1973.

They are, far left, Angela McClure, fourth from left, Diane Jackson, sixth from left, Kathryn Abram, the consort Yvonne Porter, fourth from right, Tina Brandley, third from right, Gaynor Barlow and back with parasol, Alison Duckworth.

The picture also prompted the family of the late Joan Worsley, nee Smith, to share their memories of her being crowned the first rose queen at Bolton Parish Church.

Joan was aged-12 when she was selected to be the rose queen in August 1948.

The pictures illustrate the pomp and splendour associated with the ceremony, which would bring crowds on the the street.

Her proud family said Joan would often talk about the honour bestowed on her and kept not only the photographs of the day but the programme.

Her husband Ray, who lives in Bromley Cross, said: “All the neighbours put their clothes coupons together to buy her dress. Rationing continued into the early 1950s and people still had ration books.”

Daughter, Karen Hothersall said: “She talked about being a rose queen and was very proud to have been the first rose queen.

“She used to go to the Sunday school there and was chosen, I don’t know she was chosen, but she used to talk about the day. Her parents came to watch her, her dad didn’t want her to be a rose queen but her mum said she could.”

The Rose Queen Carnival took place on Saturday, June 19, 1948, on Bolton Borough Police Ground Bromwich Street at 2pm, starting with opening of the sideshows.

A procession, with Joan, in horse drawn carriage made its way down Bury New Road and Devon Street.

It was led by Eagley Mills Prize Band.

Heralds were Brian Johnson and Derek Truffus, Page was Kingsley Chadwick.

Attendants were Pamela Twist, Freda Hodge, Joan Greenhalgh, Irene Chambers, Sheila Harrison, and Pauline Keith.

The crowing ceremony took place at 3.15p.

And during the day crowds enjoyed a fancy dress parade, with prizes awarded for the best costumes.

There was a dancing display by pupils of Ridgeway’s Endowed School, sporting events and people danced into the night.

Karen, who lives in Smithills, said: “The ceremony was a big deal at the time, so much effort and the ceremony looked so lovely.”

Joan, who ran her own town centre hairdressing salon, was rose queen for a year.

She passed the title to Yvonne Lancaster in 1949.

The annual crowing of the rose queen was once hugely popular among the church-goers of Bolton

All churches of all denominations would enjoy the celebration that usually saw the out-going queen crown watch as the new queen attended the event with her retinue.

Gorgeous dresses and costumes would be made by proud parents or members of the congregation.

In 2003 the traditional crowning of the rose queen was performed for the last time at a Bolton church

Lucy Sanderson was the last rose queen at St Thomas’s, Halliwell, when she was crowned on Saturday, July 5, at the age of 11.

And the church planned a celebration by inviting as many past queens to the parade and service as they can find.

The church was one of the last to have rose queen ceremony, which seemed to be fading away.

The church traced 28 past rose queens including one from the 1930s at the time.