Mrs Kettle

Goostrey remembers Mrs Kettle

Margaret Kettle, who passed away aged 100 on 27th December personified Goostrey Rose Day which she first attended at the age of five and each subsequent one for the next 94 years.

Margaret wrote an article for the Centenary Rose Day programme in 2005 and her recollections are a fitting tribute to a very special lady who will be missed by everyone in Goostrey, especially on Rose Day. She wrote:
At my first Rose Day aged five, I was Miss Muffet complete with tuffet and a large spider and something in a bowl (not curds and whey) I hope. In following years, I was maid of honour, the bride, a Welsh dancer and a Dutch dancer but I never did the Maypole dancing. This always gets huge cheers when the children do it without getting in a big tangle. Other dances then were the Sailor’s hornpipe, the Irish jig, Highland fling, polo dance and a solo dance which I have forgotten the name of. These dances were all taught by three sisters named Lily, May and Mable Davis and Freda Bailey, whose daughter Eileen Everett took over after her mother gave up the task.
When I was 13, I put my name forward and entered to be Queen. How we were chosen was different from today. I think the names were put into a hat, and the first one taken out was Queen. So, no one was made to feel they were inferior or less pretty, it wasn’t a beauty parade. I was quite tiny and I know I was a bit shy but it was a lovely day and very exciting. The following year I was Britannia. So as you can see the pattern has not changed much and I hope it doesn’t. If a thing is working well don’t change it.
On the day the procession was nearly always led by Marian Ingram from the Grange in her Hussar costume, on horseback – very smart. Miss Harriet Sweatman from the Old Smithy at Twemlow Green (better known to the locals as Pump Trough Manor or Rolling Pin Hall) kept the whole thing together as secretary, along with Fred and Violet Lloyd who oversaw the tea that all the children were treated to along with some spending money. This was changed in 1986 when I was president for the first time. It was a terribly hot day and the jelly and cream cakes were all melting and a lot of food was wasted. The children wanted more time to go on the bouncy castle and other things rather than sit still. Another thing that has changed now is that we no longer use much crepe paper because on wet days one would have multi-coloured clothes and faces with the colour running. Plastic is now in.
Tractors and pickups have now taken the place of the Shire Horses which were used to pull the floats. They used to look quite splendid with the horse brasses gleaming and ribbons etc. in their manes and tails. The procession then went up to the station yard before it would turn around and back to the Crown field where it was nearly always held. The old wooden hut (Lord bless it) was used to get changed in, or if things turned very wet we were moved in there more than once. What wonderful times we had in there.
Another thing that Fred Lloyd organised was sports games i.e. egg and spoon, for old and young, sack races, and three legged races etc. Morris Dance teams, as many as six or so, would compete for cups. Goostrey had a very good team, which used to compete at other fetes around the area. It was good to see them coming back home on the bus with the cups when they had won. In later years the Cheshire Royals formed and they met with a lot of success too.No matter what activities went on in the old hall during the day, it always had to be ready for Kath Jones or Alex Newton’s band to strike up the music for dancing, when the Rose Queen, with her mum and dad, would lead off the dancing which had to finish at midnight, being Saturday.

My thoughts in 1986 when I was sitting on the throne with Rachel Cooke, who was Queen that year, and all the other children, was how much they seemed to be enjoying the whole show. They were giggling and joking between themselves although they were seeming to be sitting still and doing what they had to do. One or two had ice creams to cool them down. Another little girl nearly got undressed and another had a little bottle of pop that sprayed up like champagne but we had a great time. That was the year the Skydiving Team dropped in by parachute and Ann Winterton MP and the Mayor and committee members had a meal at the Red Lion before the procession started. It was a wonderful day. I had bought a red frilly umbrella in case it was wet but used it as a sunshade instead. After that day I decided I wanted to be part of Rose Day for as long as I was able and to collect as much as I could to help funds. As not many people were dressing up and going round with a tin. I decided to go in fancy dress. In the following years I appeared as follows:
1987     Injured England footballer1991    Minnie Mouse1992    Bertie Bassett1994     Yogi Bear1995     Pixie on a rock1996    Robertson’s Golly1997    Carmen Miranda1998     Wonder Woman1999    Barbara Cartland2000    President (had to behave)2001    Ballerina (Swan Lake -dying swan)2002     Edna Everage2003     Charlie Chaplin2004    Jordan (I’m a celebrity Get me Out of Here)2005     ?
On these occasions the red umbrella appeared and on at least three others we just got wet and ignored the weather. I hope that the people of Goostrey will continue to carry on this wonderful tradition started 100 years ago. The friendship and pleasure that it gives to so many people is worth all the hard work. One special day when grandparents can come and see the youngsters enjoying themselves and they can all be happy together.