Thelma recalls a chat with Queen

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AS Corby prepares for a visit by the Queen, Thelma Bingham remembers a similar Royal occasion 51 years ago.

Mrs Bingham, 84, of Reservoir Close, Stanion, was the youngest member of Corby Urban District Council back in 1961 when the Queen and Prince Philip visited the town.

And she’s looking forward to the Royal couple returning to Corby in June as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK.

Mrs Bingham was elected as a Conservative councillor just months before the visit in 1961 when she was 34.

She said: “I believe I am the only surviving member of the then council. I remember the day very well. We were all presented to the Queen in what was the Market Square.

“She asked me if I was the youngest member of the council and I told her that I was. Before the visit all the men were given instruction on how to bow properly and the ladies were taught to curtsey. We were told what we could and couldn’t wear and how to address the Queen.

“It was a tremendous day but it all went far too quickly.

“There was great excitement in Corby and crowds lined the streets.

“I remember that I wore a new outfit, which was a green dress and short jacket.

“It was a day I’ll always remember. It’s not every day that you get to meet the Queen.”

Mrs Bingham, who was a teacher at Woodnewton Junior School, and her late husband James had lunch along with other dignitaries at the then Technical College, George Street, after a guard of honour in Market Square.

On the day the Queen and Prince Philip also visited Stewarts & Lloyds steelworks, in the town, and popped in for a cup of tea and Scottish oatcakes at the home of Mr and Mrs William Buchan, of Greenhill Rise, on Beanfield estate. The couple and their two children, William and Muriel, had moved to the town from Leith.