A party of South African children and their teachers have arrived in Goostrey and will take part in the village’s annual Rose Festival.

Eight children and two teachers from the Elizabethfontein school in the Western Cape, South Africa will be an integral part of this year’s Rose Day on Saturday 24 June.

This is the sixth time since 2004 that pupils from Elizabethfontein School, which is twinned with Goostrey Community Primary School, have taken part in the celebrations which will see 13-year-old Ella Wilford crowned Rose Queen.

The children, who are staying with families in the village, will also be taking part in lessons at Goostrey school and demonstrating crafts, sharing South African playground games and dancing. The school has won numerous dancing competitions throughout the Western Cape and the children will be performing during the afternoon.

The rural Elizabethfontein School, which is a three-and-a-half-hour drive North of Cape Town, has 270 children most of whom board on weekly basis in two huge dormitories.

The children should have visited us in 2020 but the pandemic meant that their trip had to be cancelled but we are delighted that they are with us again this year.

Ella, who attends Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, has taken part in Rose Day every year since she was a little girl has always wanted to be the Rose Queen.

As she explained: “I have been in every Rose Day that I could and I have enjoyed them all. I am really looking forward to the day and representing Goostrey at the other Rose Day events around the area.”

Ella’s two attendants on the big day will be Eleanor Stutfield, aged 12, who attends The Grange School, and Nancy Napier, 13 from Knutsford, who is a pupil at King’s School in Macclesfield.

The 2023 Rose Bud Queen will be Phoebe Sharman who will be accompanied by her lady in waiting, Isabelle Spencer. There will be six Rose Bud Queen attendants: Jessica Beardsworth; Elora Clifford; Scarlett Devey; Ruby Hemming; Hannah Pearson and Bronte Rushton.

The festivities will begin with a procession of floats, bands and walking groups, involving more than 200 children, which will set off from Booth Bed Lane at 1pm arriving at the village hall field at approximately 1.45pm.

This year there will be a new competition and trophy in honour one of the festival’s biggest supporters Margaret Kettle, who died last year, aged 100.

Margaret, who was Rose Queen in 1936 and the Festival President twice, was a stalwart of the annual event and enjoyed dressing up and starring in the procession. In memory of this, the new Margaret Kettle trophy will be presented to the adult with the best fancy dress costume.

The Rose Queen and her entourage will continue to the church for the traditional prayers and wreath laying led by the Rev Canon Christine Broad, vicar of Goostrey, with Rose Day President Hazel Challinor and Committee Chair Christina Burgess also in attendance.

Following the traditional Rose Queen crowning ceremony, the crowds will be entertained with Maypole Dancing by pupils of Goostrey school, dancing by the South African children and a bog stomping competition, whereby groups of villagers race around the arena on specially made planks of wood. The day’s festivities will be rounded off with a Ceilidh in the evening

Chair of the organising committee Christina Burgess said: “We are delighted that children from Elizabethfontein, who always help to enhance our celebrations, are again joining us this year.

“I hope Ella and her entourage enjoy their big day and representing the village at similar events around the area throughout the year.

Goostrey Rose Day, which has been going for more than 100 years, is very special and creates lifelong memories for the children taking part. However, it only happens because of the hard work of the organising committee and many other volunteers who step up each year to ensure it is a success.”