A SPECIAL community celebration was held at St Thomas’s Leesfield as the Harvest Queen’s crown was passed on for the next recipient to continue the tradition.
Annie Jakeman, 9, now has the honour of bearing the crown for the next year after taking over from Evie Randall.
Annie’s proud grandad Jim Walker led the service, introducing the Queens and their retinues as they came down the church aisle.
Annie wore a lovely dress given to her by local business Children’s Boutique Lees.
There were speeches from Evie and Annie, Sunday School children sang ‘Any Dream Will Do’, a prayer was read by Eva Yates and Evie Marsden and the Blessing was given by The Rev Ruth Farrar.
The Oldham Band (Lees) played before the service as well as leading hymns Jubilate and Who Put the Colours in the Rainbow, which were chosen by Evie and Annie.
Special guests included the Mayor of Oldham Cllr Ginny Alexander and Oldham Youth Mayor Samah Khalil.
Cllr Alexander said: “The girls all looked stunning in their gorgeous dresses and the boys very handsome. It was lovely to meet all the Queens and their retinues.
“Many friends and family were there and it was great to see Cllr Stephen Hewitt giving up his birthday afternoon to attend this community event.”
“It is lovely to see such a wonderful tradition continuing.”
Freya Mills, Rose Queen from sister church St. Agnes’, also attended with her retinue.
After the service, guests were treated to a refreshments donated by Lees Co-op at the school hall, where there were also tombolas, face painting, games and a raffle with lots of prizes donated by businesses in LSG Business Hub.
Harvest Queens and retinues are chosen according to their attendance at Sunday School and the tradition was resurrected by St. Thomas’ Leesfield in 2011, with the event now organised by Karen Jakeman.
However, not a lot is known about the history except they were previously known as Silver Queens. Pat Hellon (née Jackson), now 80 years old, was the last Silver Queen and attended Annie’s event.
If you have any information about the Silver Queens of St Thomas’s Leesfield call Karen on 07525 333638 as they are trying to find out as much information as they can.