Coronation Celebrations in Strathard by James Kennedy.
Background: Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on Tuesday 2 June, 1953 in Westminster Abbey. Her Majesty was the thirty-ninth Sovereign to be crowned at Westminster Abbey. The coronationwas held more than one year after the death of King George VI, because of the tradition of allowing an appropriate length of time to pass after a monarch dies before holding such festivals. It also gave the planning committees adequate time to make preparations for the ceremony.
The then Princess Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh were in Kenya on February 6, 1952, when King George VI died as a result of lung cancer at the age of 56, and his 25-year-old daughter became the sixth woman in history to ascend to the British throne. She became Queen on February 6 1952.
The Coronation In Stirling and Strathard
Not surprisingly the coronation was a subject of great anticipation and celebration . The Stirling Observer reported on the plans and then the events themselves. Stirling Castle was floodlit for the coronation and for the following 3 weeks. Special events were held all over the country including in Strathard, when events were held in Aberfoyle, Kinlochard and Inversnaid and Stronachlachar. A special church service was held on Coronation day in Aberfoyle Parish Church
The Coronation Medal
The 1953 Coronation Medal was a commemorative medal made to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II awarded for community contribution. The oldest member of the community Archie Menzies received the award in recognition of his significant public service. Mr. Menzies who was 89 years of age also had the honour of setting off the bonfire on Coronation night.
To celebrate the Coronation, Aberfoyle had a full programme of events. A service of thanksgiving and devotion started the day and following this everyone went to the recreation grounds to see a procession of children in fancy dress. This competition was judged by Lady French. The best fancy dress was won by Fiona Faulds and Helen Hawkerton as Queen and Train-bearer.
Afterwards it was possible to view the Coronation on a television in the Church Hall. Afterwards some 50 sports events for all ages were held in the recreation ground.
A five a side football match between McLaren High and Aberfoyle led to defeat for the local team.
Souvenir medals and mugs were presented to all children of school age by Mrs. Joynson of the Glassert. Mrs Joynson also presented prizes to the winners of the competitions. For the children the day ended with a march from the field back to the village. This was led by the Strathendrick and District Pipe Band.
The focus of the evening was on a dance in the Pavilion followed by fireworks and the lighting of the bonfire by Archie Menzies.
The Womens Rural Institute held a dance on Friday 5 June to celebrate Coronation week and a good number of people turned up in fancy dress. Music was supplied by McLaren’s Band. and William Smith acted as Master of Ceremonies As well as a general raffle there were also prizes for the best fancy dress which Mrs. McDonald won for best dressed. There were also prizes for best home-made outfit won by Mrs. Beaton, most comical won by Mrs. McKay and topical won by Mrs. Laing. All in all, the evening was judged to be a great success.
There was a major focus on the children of the area as part of the celebrations. Miss Watson the headteacher played a major role in the planning committee. All of the schoolchildren received a copy of a new Testament prayer book from the Perth and Kinross Education Committee and a souvenir book gifted by Mrs. Cunninghame from Couligarten.
Celebrations started in the school which had been especially decorated by the pupils in bright colours. A procession headed by Miss Watson marched to the Mill of Chon sports field where all of the sports and fun activities took place. Again, there was a fancy-dress theme which was judged by Dr. Perry. Topical was won by Mary Allan; original Ronald Luke; homemade Isobel McMillan; youngest Alasdair MacDonald and comical Ian McGregor. Ronald wore a outfit dressed as a clown, created from tissue paper by his aunt May whilst his sister Margaret want as princess.
Races took place in the sports field with ice cream and lemonade for the young folk. Later on, tea was served in the school and a conjurer had been hired to provide entertainment. Wilf Luke presented each child with a financial gift which had been organised by Mrs. E. Joynson of the Altskeith. Souvenirs of a mug and sweets were also an addition to the children’s special day.
In the early evening a bonfire was lit by Mr. Mackie. It had been planned to also have fireworks but this was postponed as the children were very tired and the evening was very clear.
The Aberfoyle celebrations were brought to a conclusion when on Saturday 19 June a Coronation tree was planted in the grounds of the Bailie Nicol Jarvie by Mrs. Cameron. It was also reported that there was a final distribution of coronation tea to the older members of the community.
Stronachlachar and Inversnaid
Coronation day started with the community gathering in Stronachlachar to listen to the special radio programme followed by a clay pigeon shoot. It was reported by the Stirling Observer that ‘young children were entranced by witnessing a chapter of history’. In the afternoon there were sport activities and into the evening a choice of bowling or dancing. The special day finished with the bonfire being lit by George Buchan ‘ veteran shepherd of Inversnaid’. On the following day a coronation sheep dog trial was held at Garrison Farm and it was won by Charles McLachlan from Portnellan.
Acknowledgement: My thanks to the team at the Archives in Stirling Council. https://www.stirling.gov.uk/archives