FIFTY years ago this summer, a 16-year-old girl was pushed rather unwillingly into taking part in a contest to select her youth club’s beauty queen.
Fair-haired Sandra Lamb had been a member of Blithfield Youth Club for some time and her sister Zillah served as club secretary and helped to organise the contest held at Stowe-by-Chartley Village Hall.
Sandra worked in the shoe department at Rugeley Co-operative Society (later serving as its manageress ) and became one of six girls to parade before the judges, Major and Mrs J O’Neill.
Only girls living in the Blithfield parish or attending the youth club were eligible and Sandra scored on both counts, living at Windy Oaks, Admaston.
Her best friend Jennifer Hall who had won the title
the previous year was also
in the line-up.
Only recently, Sandra - now Mrs Gibson - was showing her nephews and nieces photographs in her family album and happened to mention that she was Miss Blithfield 1964 - and as there have been no subsequent competitions, she reckons she is still “reigning” as the club queen
Sandra, now living at Etching Hill, was following in her mother’s footsteps, who won the Miss Admaston title in 1937 and took part in the Rugeley Hospital Carnival that year.
Her mother, Phyllis Lamb, was one of eight maids of honour attending the Rugeley Carnival Queen, Marion Hill.
Sandra kindly provides the carnival programme for 1937, showing more than 51 floats and individuals taking part in the procession which began and ended on Stokes’ Field on Rugeley’s Market Street.
Among those taking part was Mrs Brass of Little Haywood (Mother Goose), workers from Stafford’s Heels factory (floats depicting Poppy Time and Devil Masqueraders), and Mrs Morrall of Stafford (Toy Town Parade).
Incidentally, Rugeley Carnival fun included boxing contests at the Wharf Road Ground whose participants had the likes of Tonner and Buckle Hodgkiss (both from Rugeley), Snowy Wain and Arthur Deakin (Rugeley) and Darkie Follows of Stafford.
Sandra tells us that she went on to become the runner-up in the Miss Staffordshire YFC contest that year and that she met her late husband Ian in the Blithfield Youth Club.
They went on to establish the White Lodge Caravan Park at Great Haywood.
Her sister Zillah (now Mrs Roberts) was a stalwart of the Blithfield Youth Club and still works in the community, notably helping to serve meals to elderly people.