I remember the morning we were going to vote, it was a Thursday and the date was the 15th of February 1990. We were all asked to go to the music room. When the votes were counted and Mrs Connarty announced that I would be Queen, the whole room burst into spontaneous applause. I was really excited and nervous. I was allowed to phone my mum: “I’m the Queen,” I shouted down the phone. All I could hear was everyone cheering, I had to hold the phone away from my ear!

On the way home from school, people were asking me if it was true, was I really the Queen. I remember one wee old lady who came to her gate and gave me a little picture frame. I thought it was very kind of her and it meant a lot to me. When I arrived home, all the family were there to greet me and everyone was phoning and posting cards through the door.

From that day onward, it was a whirlwind of activity with; meetings, phone calls, photographs and dresses. My Kirkin dress was made by Fiona Nicol and my Fair dress was bought from a shop in Glasgow. I had to go for several fittings before we could bring it home to be showed, not like now where all the main characters dresses and outfits are shown in school. It had to be shown over a few weeks to accommodate everyone.

Over the coming weeks, the preparations started to take shape. It was announced that Mrs. Christina Smith would crown me. The theme that the school had chosen was “Camelot” and my arch was to be a Medieval Castle.

The Kirkin of the Queen service was held in the Old Kirk. The theme was “Looking Back, Looking Forward” It was a lovely service and everyone was happy and proud. Kinneil Unison Silver Band played “Nessum Dorma,” which was the tune chosen for the televised coverage of the World Cup that year. At the end of the service, the school choir sang, “The Greatest Love of All,” and everyone thought that it was very moving.

The rest of the week was spent rehearsing. We all practised and perfected our roles and we were all desperate for the big day to arrive.

On the Fair morning, we were all up bright and early. I remember feeling too excited to eat breakfast and my mum made me have toast and tea. After we were all ready we went outside. It was really busy and there was a wonderful atmosphere, everyone was happy and smiling. It was the Glencorse Pipe Band that came to the house. I think everyone had a wee tear in their eye when they played. It was a lovely morning and nothing could have spoiled our enthusiasm for the day. Then the official car arrived with my two wee pageboys, Steven Courtney and Graham Pow.

When we arrived at the school, it was a hive of activity. Mr Calder, who was the school janitor then, along with Mr Elliott and their helpers had transformed the front of the school into a scene from King Arthur’s Court. After we all had our photographs taken, we assembled in the playground before proceeding to the Glebe Park. On the way down there was a few drops of rain, but we didn’t think too much of it.

By the time we had arrived at the park, the heavens had opened. Mr Brown announced that the coronation would be held inside the Town Hall. I recall standing under a huge umbrella and everyone started to run forward. I think that was the only chaotic time, because everyone wanted to be inside the Town Hall.

After Mrs Smith had crowned me and the speeches were read, there was a rapturous applause. I remember lights with people taken pictures. I also remember people saying that my dress was glistening. Even in the photographs that were taken it looks radiantly white because of the lights. All the people that meant the most to me were there, my mum, my aunts, great aunts, uncles, cousins and of course my dear Nana and Granddad Miller and my dear Nan Welsh, who are sadly no longer with us. I will treasure those memories for as long as I live.

The procession still went ahead, despite the rain, and then the whole retinue went back to the Town Hall for the Royal Command Performance, which is usually held in the Douglas Park after all the excitement of the day, it was a pleasure to watch all the performances. At the end of the evening, after the Reception and Dinner, I went home exhausted but elated. It was an amazing day and I loved every single moment of it.

Shortly after the Fair, I had the privilege of meeting Mrs Jane Jones, who like myself, had her coronation in the Town Hall. She was Fair Queen in 1906. We spoke about our experiences and had our photographs taken for the Journal and Gazette. At that time she was 97 years old and living in a care home in Grangemouth.

One of the things I never forget is the kindness that was shown to me. Everyone did their upmost to insure that I had a happy and memorable day, and I truly did. I still enjoy looking at my photograph albums and I have kept all the cards and telegrams sent from well-wishers. The newspaper cuttings and all the beautiful gifts.

Twenty years later and now my son, Josh, attends Kinneil School Nursery and I am looking forward to being involved with the school again over the coming years, and who thought that my Chief Lady Donna Meikle would end up being my sister in law.

I am extremely proud and honoured to have been Fair Queen in 1990 and to have taken part in a little piece of history of the Bo’ness Fair. I would like to wish Queen Elect Georgia and her retinue a very happy Fair Day 2010.

LISA WELSH,
Bo’ness Fair Queen 1990

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