I have been fortunate, recently, to have been given a copy of a souvenir brochure celebrating the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

It made such interesting reading I thought I should like to share some of its contents with the readers of this column.

The local historical interest for me was evident as soon as I opened it: being born and brought up in Didcot made everything relevant and brought back many memories.

Read also: Heralding the Past - the man who woke up with his trousers stolen

It was published by the Didcot Chamber of Commerce and was supported by Didcot Parish Council and The Coronation Committee.

Here is an extract from the brochure recounting the first event of the Didcot celebrations:

"A successful start to the celebrations was The Civic Ball, it being the first official event of Didcot’s Coronation celebrations.

"It was held on Friday, April 24, 1953 in the Garrison Theatre and was a unique occasion for Didcot, proving to be an undoubted success from all points of view.

"Among the 350 people present were many visitors from the district, principal guests from other areas of local government being the Mayor and Mayoress of Wallingford (Mrs. F.E.Simmons and Mrs S. Butcher), the Mayor and Mayoress of Abingdon (Ald. H.G. and Mrs Mullard), the Mayor and Mayoress of Newbury (Coun. D. and Mrs Cameron), the Chairman of Wantage Urban District Council (Mr. J.W. Knight and Mrs. Knight), with the clerk to the Berkshire County Council (Mr. E. R. Davies and Mrs. Davies). Sir Ralph Glyn, M.P. for North Berks and Lady Glyn, were also present.

Read also: The great Milton train crash of 1955

"The chief event of the evening was the presentation to Ald. S. Freeman, Chairman of Didcot Parish Council, of a bar to add to the badge of office which Mr. S. Allen Warner had presented to the council the week before.

"The bar bears the name of Mr. Freeman and his year of office (1952-53) and it is the intention that in successive years each chairman shall have a similar bar.

"The presentation to Mr. Freeman was made by Mrs Simmons, as Mayor of the nearest and oldest Borough.

"She was introduced by Mr. B.N.J. Bosley, Chairman of the fundraising committee, which was responsible for the arrangements.

"Dancing was to Eric Tolley’s and John Tennison’s orchestras and the M.C’s were Mr. John Weaver and Mr. Frank Townson.

"The difficulty of catering for two schools of dancing – modern and old-time – was overcome quite well.

Read also: Didcot's Cottage Hospital and St John Ambulance Brigade

"No member of the committee had been so unrealistic as to imagine that all the people would be pleased all the time, but complaints were few.

"An exhibition of ballroom dancing by Mr. and Mrs. W Brett of Oxford, was a further special item which was watched with keen interest.

"Mr. R. Goldsworthy, vice-chairman of the Council, was the proposer of a vote of thanks. Great assistance was lent to the organisers in their preparations by the military authorities, through the Depot Commandant, Brigadier H.S. Mitchell.

"The proceeds amounted to approximately £65, and were for the Coronation celebration fund."

More from this brochure next time.