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It could only happen in Finedon

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A memorable thirteenth birthday
Velma Munns (neeFreeman)

March the 4th 1943 was my thirteenth birthday and I attended the Finedon Senior School.   Whilst in the morning assembly, our Headmaster,  Capt. J F Sutton, announced that King George the sixth and Queen Elizabeth were to visit Wellingborough that day.  He went on to say that if we went home to obtain the permission of our parents for the school to take us (bearing in mind that parents might object due to the occasional daytime air-raids),  we could go.  We were also asked to bring a packed lunch back with us.
Eagerly we returned to school and off we all set, walking of course. On arriving we positioned ourselves on a high wall in Cannon Street.   With lots of legs dangling we waited and waited.
Finally, whoops of joy went up as the Royal car approached, with the Royal Standard proudly flying high. Alas! All we saw was the car. We were sitting so high up that had we leaned forward, we would have fallen off the wall.
The fact that we had not seen the King and Queen didn’t seem to matter as we’d had a good time anyway.
Down we got, gathering up our belongings we set off to make our way back to Finedon.  When we got halfway home,near to what we called the Water work’s House,  along came Brown’s cattle truck.  The driver stopped and  offered us all a lift.  In we piled, not giving a thought to the  manure and squelchy straw inside, as by this time the novelty of the long walk ahead was wearing a bit thin.  We went, pushing and shoving,some even“piggy-backing”to  get more in.  Eventually we were all aboard and we wobbled off.
To say the journey was precarious would be an understatement as a wave of hysteria was creeping in, a combination of  trepidation and non stop laughing,however we travelled on.
We arrived at Finedon just as the shoe workers were returning to work, having been home for dinner.  We alighted near to Dunkley’s wood yard on Wellingborough Road. When the tailgate was put down, imagine the look on the peoples  faces,when in- stead of beast emerging, out of the truck came a hoard, or should I say “herd” of  boys and girls.
What an experience this was for us, and certainly for me, a birthday that I will never forget. My profound thanks to the late Mr Brown.