Hunt for mechanical elephant photo brings back Coronation memories

Pat Hallybone and friends ride a mechanical elephant to celebrate the Queen's coronation PNL-150721-105922001
Pat Hallybone and friends ride a mechanical elephant to celebrate the Queen's coronation PNL-150721-105922001

A passing comment to a friend that she had once ridden a mechanical elephant set Pat Hallybone on a mission to prove her story.

After turning her house upside down, a photo of the event was found, and the claim, not believed by her friend, was confirmed.

Pat and her friends were all under 10 when the marvellous machine was giving children rides at a fete held on the sports field in Stewartby to mark the Queen’s Coronation.

Pat said: “I was six in 1953 and I have memories of the day and the marquees on the field.

“On the elephant is Beryl Rees, then me when I was Pat Wood, David Moulton, Lesley Moulton and David Corbet. The man with the elephant is Mr Brightman, who also lived in Stewartby.

“The elephant was on wheels, and he actually walked. He has a fire extinguisher on him, so I think it was run on petrol.”

The riders have since grown up and lost touch. Pat, who is now 68, lives in Rushden, Northampton.

“At the time, our mothers were all friends, which is probably why we were on the elephant together,” Pat said.

“When I told my friend about this photo, he said, don’t talk rubbish.

“So I turned my house upside-down to find it, which was a good thing, as it meant I had a jolly good clear out!”

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