WHEN the Friends of Rowley Fields host a picnic to celebrate The Queen’s 90th birthday they will also welcome a special guest of honour.
Fellow nonagenarian and long time Stratford resident Brenda Cox will take pride of place at proceedings as the event’s very own ‘Queen for a day’ on Sunday (June 12).
Organisers wanted to honour a truly special Stratfordian who was the same age as Her Majesty, and when they heard about Mrs Cox their search ended.
Working in Coventry during the Second World War, Brenda survived the blitz and still vividly recalls bombs falling in her street, the lack of water, gas and electricity supply and having to run through the streets past an unexploded bomb during an evacuation.
Like the Queen she also joined the forces during the war- in the Royal Observer Corps she worked at a secret location plotting enemy air raids and was on duty on VE Day, fondly remembering the celebrations.
Brenda met her late husband, Ray, when the Argyll and Sutherland Highlander was wounded during the war and hospitalised in Stratford.
Brenda married Ray in the same year as the future monarch married Prince Philip – 1947. She affectionately recalls watching the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 while huddled around a friend’s black and white television.
Brenda and Ray moved to Stratford permanently in 1955 and have two daughters, Heather and Rosie.
The couple were very active in the community and for many years ran the town’s Talking Newspaper, which is still recorded today.
Supported by the Stratford Town Trust, entry to the Friends of Rowley Fields Birthday Picnic is free, and runs from 1pm until 5pm.
Attendees are encouraged to bring along a picnic hamper and blanket and enjoy the wide open spaces of Rowley Fields and the Welcombe Hills. There will be a Walking Treasure Hunt, Children’s Grass Maze, Vintage Cars and Ice Cream Van along with a Fairground Organ and Strolling Players.
In addition, organisers will be running a raffle and selling merchandise for the Stratford Hospital Cancer and Eye Unit. Roadside parking is free on the adjacent Maidenhead Road, although space may be limited.
* There will be a street party in Great William Street on Saturday June 11 from 2pm to 8pm.
Competitions will include most regal outfit and cake fit for a Queen. Jazz band Syncopated Rhythm will be performing.
The street will be closed to traffic until 9pm.