A Royal day out

The 1977 Silver Jubilee saw the Queen marking 25 years of her reign, by visiting a total of 36 UK counties over three months.

No other monarch had visited so much of the country in such a short space of time. She was accompanied by Prince Philip and their visits started with a trip to Glasgow, Scotland on May 17, then moved to England and Wales.

A day of celebrations was earmarked for June 7 where British people put 1970s austerity to one side with street parties and parades. Many strung bunting across streets and decorated motor vehicles organising their very own parades.

As part of the Silver Jubilee festivities, the Queen earmarked, July 12 and 13 for a visit to Yorkshire and Humberside. In South Yorkshire, the Royal couple visited areas of Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley.

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    Crowd in Barnsley for Queens visit.

    The Queen was late – but the waiting was forgotten when she finally reached Doncaster from Humberside, amidst drizzle and heavy cloud, during the afternoon of Tuesday 12 July 1977.

    The Queen was wearing a turquoise coat, matching turquoise hat with a white ribbon, white gloves and white shoes and was carrying a white handbag. Brightly coloured clothing, banners and flags met the Royal couple as they turned on to the straight mile at Doncaster Racecourse – almost an hour behind schedule.

    The Royal walkabout between the straight mile and grandstand lasted just a few minutes, but it was still time enough for several children to present posies unofficially. The theme of youth was central to the Doncaster event as well as other areas of South Yorkshire. Several hundred Silver Jubilee Doncaster street queens watched proceedings from specially reserved seats and five youth bands entertained.

    Waiting for more than three hours was all worthwhile for Emma Hayes, six, when the Queen stopped to speak to her the way to the Racecourse grandstand. Emma presented the Queen with a bouquet of five white and two red roses. “I told her that I had picked them myself this morning in our back garden,” said Emma. The Queen and Duke went into the Tattersall’s Suite for lunch before leaving for Maltby.

    Floral arrangement in shape of a crown to mark Queens visit to Cannon Hall.

    Arriving there at exactly 3pm, the Royal couple spent exactly 29 minutes at Maltby Comprehensive School, Rotherham. Around 7,000 pupils gathered to greet them.

    On the Maltby fields more than 20 schools and youth organisations put on displays. Loudly heard across the fields were the bands of the Trinity Croft Junior and Infants’ School, High Greave Junior School and the Rotherham Schools’ Brass Band playing the National anthem.

    Emerging from a Royal limousine, the Queen was greeted by the Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor Roland Benton, and the Mayoress, Mrs Norma Benton. The Queen met other Rotherham dignitaries including councillors, MPs and Lord and Lady Scarbrough of Sandbeck Park.

    Looking relaxed and happy, the Queen and Prince Philip went straight to the playing fields along with Rotherham’s Director of Education Leonard Taylor and his wife.

    Queen and Duke at Doncaster Racecourse.

    Countless Rotherham children would cherish the memories of the Queen’s 1977 visit to Maltby but one ten-year-old girl, Allison, of Letwell, was luckier than most and stole the show. Allison, one of 181 pupils at Aston Fence junior school, was dressed for the occasion in purple velvet cloak with a plea for the Queen printed on a cardboard sign.

    It read ‘Dear Queen of England, please crown me queen of Aston Fence School. Love Allison’. As the Queen passed by, she duly obliged. Taking the sign, she asked Allison: ‘So you want to be crowned, do you?’

    Then, carefully picking up the home-made crown, held on a velvet cushion by the young girl’s pageboy, seven-year-old Mathew Orton, of Woodhouse Mill, Queen Elizabeth II regally placed it on the school queen’s head.

    The Queen and Duke spent some time in Sheffield at Hillsborough Park where they met over 2,000 children from city schools and youth organisations taking part in activities.

    Queen at Maltby Comprehensive School with Len Taylor, Director of Education.

    Crowds along the route from Sheffield to Cawthorne made the Queen and Prince Philip about 15 minutes late, arriving at Cannon Hall, Barnsley. The Queen was welcomed by Barnsley civic leaders on the last lap of her South Yorkshire tour.

    After signing the distinguished visitors’ book in the hall, the Queen, together with the Duke, appeared on the terrace and were greeted with a fanfare played by Barnsley Schools Music Centre Band. As the Royal couple left the terrace, masses of red, white and blue balloons were released. This delighted the Queen, said Barnsley Mayor John Stanley later.

    Together with her husband, the Queen then boarded a Range Rover to tour the parkland. One of the highlights of the Royal visit for those in Cannon Hall Park, was the stage performance and static displays given by hundreds of children from schools throughout the Barnsley area.

    The Duke of Edinburgh had a laugh and a joke with members of Barnsley Sub Aqua Club.

    Thousands of people, some of whom had waited for up to four hours, gathered to catch a glimpse of the Queen at Barnsley railway station to make as she made her onward journey by Royal Train to Leeds.

    People at the bottom of Regent Street and outside the Queen’s Hotel, spilled on to the road from behind the barriers as she was approaching. Office workers were leaning out of windows all along Regent Street, and people were even standing on roof tops in an effort to secure a better view.

    Queen in Doncaster meeting Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, Stanley Barratt.
    Queen receives bouquet of flowers from girl at Cannon Hall, Barnsley.