Chairing and the Charter

June Thompson outside St John’s Church in Corby Old Village ©Alison Bagley for Northants Telegraph

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Chairing and the Charter

This year, the role of the ‘oldest resident’ will be fulfilled by June Thompson, who will join Corby’s new Mayor, Cllr Tafadzwa Chikoto, and the vicar of St John’s Church, 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, take place as the fair is officially opened with the reading of the Royal Charter starting at 6am on Friday 3rd June.

June will turn 86 years old this July. Born June Chapman in Cock Row, she was the middle child of 11 siblings. Her Grandad was the blacksmith on the High St, her Dad was in the Kings Own Regiment in India then worked as a caretaker at the mine and her mother worked as a window cleaner in the 40s. Now a widow, June has 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

Chairing at the 1982 Pole Fair © Northants Telegraph

June has many memories of life in Corby, from the street party on East Avenue and Oakley Road for VE day in May 1945 to social events organised by the church for the 2002 Pole Fair. This year will be her 5th Pole Fair, having taken part as an 11 year old Brownie Guide in 1947, being part of the winning Tug-o-War team in 1962 and singing as part of the church choir in 1982. She speaks highly of the great community feeling in the Old Village during previous fairs and feeling like everyone was part of a group of great friends.

Volunteer sedan chair carriers needed

Do you want to become part of Corby history? We’re looking for 12 strong volunteers to carry the sedan chairs for our three guests of honour on Friday 3rd June. The charter readings begin at 6am outside St John’s Church, moving to outside the White Hart and then near the Cardigan Arms. If you would like to volunteer, please email or call the office on 01536 267895.

Read more in the Northants Telegraph

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Published 23rd May 2022

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