A CARNIVAL queen who led the 1948 Canvey Carnival is looking forward to her role in this year’s event.

Edna Bowden, 88, headed the carnival when she was 21 and is hoping to join other former queens and princesses during the procession on July 12.

Mrs Bowden recalls how she had to use up ten clothing coupons for her dress. She led the procession on a horse and cart with four maids of honour.

The great-grandmother said: “I’m hoping to do it again this year. But when you get to 88, you do not exactly look like a carnival queen!

“I really enjoyed my year as carnival queen.”

Shirley Coates, 59, the carnival queen of 1971, is rallying former queens and princesses for this year’s parade and has enlisted her 91-year-old aunt Bessie O’Neill, who was a princess in 1948 with Mrs Bowden.

Mrs Coates said: “Last year, a dozen past carnival queens and princesses took part in Canvey Carnival. I am looking to double the amount this year. We have got a float for the girls who can’t walk the course thanks to Sandra Durant from GMD. It’s going to be a great fun day.”

Echo: Carnival queens – Shirley Coates and Edna Bowden

She added members of courts from Southend, Thundersley and Benfleet were also welcome.

Money raised from the carnival, which begins at noon on Saturday, July 12, at Thorney Bay Caravan Park, will go to charities National Coast Watch and Friends of Concorde Beach.

This year’s king, Alexander Forster, eight, from Winter Gardens Primary School will be joined by queen Jessica Oldroyd, eight, from William Mead Primary School.

If you can help provide floats, or are a former queen or princess, email Shirley on oldcanveyqueen@aol.com For carnival details email Zoe on canveycarnival@hotmail.co.uk.

Echo: Shirley with her grandparents Lou and Bob Hellicker in 1971

Echo: Shirley Coates