Born and bred Corby Old Village resident June Thomson will be honoured at the historic Pole Fair 2022 when in the role of the ‘oldest resident’ she is ‘chaired’ through the streets.
The mum, gran and great-gran will join Corby’s Mayor, Tafadzwa Chikoto, and the vicar of St John’s Church, the Rev Paul Frost, in being carried on sedan chairs through the streets at the start of the Pole Fair.
This longstanding tradition, dating back to at least 1862, takes place as the fair is officially opened with the reading of the Royal Charter starting at 6am – this year on Friday, June 3.
It will be a momentous day for the 85-year-old as she has taken part in each every-20-year fair since her first in 1947.
She said: “It’s so nice to be part of village and part of history. It’s a real privilege for a Corby villager.
“I remember the fair in 1947 when I was a Brownie. We had a bonfire on The Nook near the Scout hall. In 1962 I had two little girls and won the tug-of-war with some of my sisters.
“In 1982, I was part of the choir, although I was a terrible singer, and 2002 I was church warden so I was part of the celebrations.”
To qualify for the role candidates must have been born in the Old Village and still live there. June, who turns 86 in July, was born June Chapman in Cock Row – the middle child of 11 siblings.
Her grandad was the blacksmith on the High Street, her dad was in the King’s Own Regiment in India then worked as a caretaker at the mine and her mother worked as a window cleaner in the 1940s. Now a widow, June has three children, Carol, Diane and David, seven grandchildren, Callum, Matthew, Aaron, Amber, Emma, Bethany and Caitlyn, and two great-grandchildren, Ruby and Ewan.
Many of her family will be at St John’s Church to see June being guest of honour at the celebrations.
She said: “I’m not the oldest resident but the oldest who is able to do this. My grandchildren have said they might need to tie me to the chair with rope – let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!”