Doreen Fletcher, former Wool Queen

Doreen Fletcher with some of her modelling photographs
Doreen Fletcher with some of her modelling photographs
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Doreen Fletcher, who has died at 90, was in the post-war years an unlikely film star.

A mill worker from Dewsbury, she was plucked from the production line after being crowned Yorkshire Wool Queen, an award that made her a forces’ pin-up, a model and pantomime star, and sustained a short career as a soprano singer.

Doreen Fletcher (then Kerfoot) back at the loom in her modelling days

Doreen Fletcher (then Kerfoot) back at the loom in her modelling days

Mrs Fletcher, then Doreen Kerfoot, was also the main attraction in a colour film called Three Piece Suit, produced on behalf of the wool textile industry.

Just last month, the film and other memorabilia went on display at the Leeds Industrial Museum in an exhibition celebrating the lives of Yorkshire’s “Queens of Industry” from the 1940s and 1950s.

For Doreen, the good fortune came only a year after her family, including sister Margaret and brothers Edward and Brian, lost their home in a fire that destroyed most of their belongings.

She had entered the Wool Queen contest by sending a picture of herself to the organisers, and was summoned to Lewis’s department store in Leeds, where she won a place in the final.

“It was out of this world to me,” she recalled later. “Suddenly I was staying in this grand hotel in London.”

She also found herself on stage in the pantomime Aladdin at the Dewsbury Empire, alongside Jill Summers, later to star as Phyllis Pearce in Coronation Street.

Her fame spread so widely that she was written about by a newspaper in the upstate New York town of Schenectady.

It reported: “To date, she has had one marriage proposal, five boxes of chocolates and, from a nine-year-old admirer, a home-made Christmas card.”

The proposal came from a young German man in the Soviet-occupied sector of eastern Germany. She did not reply.

Instead, upon meeting her husband-to-be, Harold, she decided against a showbusiness career. They had two sons, and celebrated their diamond anniversary in 2008. Harold died in 2012.