Left: Grantham's Railway Queen for 1954, Valerie Ogden, with other entrants at St John's Hall on Friday 8th January 1954.
Right: Grantham's Railway Queen for 1955,Mary Church, with her lady-in-waiting Marion Ballaam and attendants Diane Wilkinson and Valerie Maddison, at Westgate Hall on Friday 21st January 1955 as Valerie Ogden (right) extends good wishes to he successor.
From The Grantham Journal.
Towards the end of 1953 the Grantham Branch of the NUR (National Union of Railwaymen) decided to appoint a local Railway Queen, and on 8th January 1954 Valerie Ogden was chosen to take on the role.
The first Grantham Railway Queen, January 1954
From The Grantham Journal Friday 15th January 1954, page 3:
Grantham's first railway queen chosen
Grantham's first railway queen is 13-years-old Valerie Ogden, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. Ogden, of 6, West-avenue, Grantham, who was maid of honour on the occasion of the visit to Grantham in 1952 of Britain's railway queen, to whom she served in similar capacity at Belle Vue, Manchester, at the coronation of the queen for 1952-53.
Valerie, a pupil at the Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School, was chosen from nine candidates who paraded on the stage of St. John's-hall, Grantham, on Friday night, at the annual New Year party of the Grantham branch N.U.R., attended by nearly 300 children and close on 90 parents.
Method of selection was by volume of applause by the children, and this was judged by the Major and Mayoress, Coun. and Mrs. J. Hardaker, and the Deputy-Mayor, Aid. W. Goodliff, and Mrs. Goodliff.
Diana Wilkinson, aged 12, of 21, Malt-hill, Grantham, was chosen as lady-in-waiting, and Valerie Maddison, 58, Heathfield-road, and Rita Hunter, 34, Belton-lane, as maids of honour.
CROWNED BY THE MAYOR
The queen, who was crowned by the Mayor, wore a white taffeta, flared skirt, trimmed with sequins, and her robe consisted of royal blue superfine velour with gold lining.
Her robe and the lady-in-waiting's cape were hand-made by Mrs. Audrey Bailey, wife of the branch social secretary, Mr. Anthony Bailey.
Valerie received a congratulatory kiss and a pendant from the Mayor, and she was also presented with bouquet, the gift of Mr. J. Drage, social committee chairman.
The lady-in-waiting and maids of honour each received a pendant from members of the committee.
Afterwards Mr. Leslie Bailey, branch social events organiser, who acted as M.C., said the queen would attend all functions to which she was invited and would act as an ambassadress from Grantham district N.U.R. to other local organisations.
Following a tea, in charge of Mrs. Sentance and ladies of the committee, a varied programme of vocal and musical items was enjoyed, including much appreciated numbers by the Jeff Wise tap-dancing troupe, Mr. Harold Welbourn and his daughters, Mr. J. Wright (pianist) and Mr. H, Lewis, of Colsterworth (piano-accordionist).
The second Grantham Railway Queen, January 1955
From The Grantham Journal Friday 28th January 1955, page 3:
As the Grantham Railway Queen
Grantham Railway Queen for the ensuing year is 12-years-old Mary Church, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. O. Church, of 23, Brittain-drive, Grantham.
A pupil at Grantham Girls' Central school, Mary, who succeeds the first "queen", Valerie Ogden, was chosen at the local National Union of Railwaymen's children's party the Westgate-hall, Grantham, on Friday.
Her lady-in-waiting is Marion Ballaam, aged 13, and her attendants are Diane Wilkinson, aged 13. and Valerie Maddison, aged 12.
"Queen Mary" was crowned by Coun. W. Ogden, secretary Grantham N.U.R., and judges of the contest were Mr. and Mrs. Colin Tipler and Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Wise.
A bouquet to Valerie was presented by Judith Featherstone. and in a final message before "retiring" she expressed pleasure at the functions she and her maids had attended, and extended good wishes to her successor.
Boxes of chocolates to the retiring maids were presented Joy Wright.
During the evening children attending the party indulged in an amateur talent contest and a balloon-bursting competition. A concert was given by a group of talented young artistes led by Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Gregg.
Compère was Coun. J. Hardaker. and music for the games, etc. was provided by Mr. J. Wright, pianist.
To see how Grantham's Railway Queen evolved in the 1980s into 'Miss NUR' see this page: The NUR/RMT Grantham Branch from 1974 to 2004.