Queen thanks fair owner for pictures of her visit to King's Lynn Mart

Queen at Mart

The Queen has thanked fairground operator Colleen Roper for sending her pictures of a visit she made to King's Lynn Mart in 1953 - Credit: Submitted

The Queen has thanked a fairground campaigner for reminding her of a visit to King's Lynn Mart in the year of her coronation - as showmen pray the centuries-old fair will be able to go ahead next month.

Colleen Roper, who runs the Rainbow Park amusement park in Hunstanton, sent the monarch pictures from when she toured the Mart in 1953, with a letter highlighting the impact of the pandemic on the showmen's community.

Submitted pic of HM Queen Elizabeth leaving Herbert S Gray's living van at Kings Lynn Mart Fair in 1

The Queen leaving Herbert Gray's living van at Kings Lynn Mart in 1955 - Credit: Submitted

Accompanied by the Queen Mother, the Queen toured attractions on the Tuesday Market Place and visited the living van of showman Herbert Gray.

Lady-in-waiting Susan Hussey wrote from Windsor Castle to thank Mrs Roper on the Queen's behalf.


The Queen and Queen Mother visit the Mart in 1955 - Credit: Archant

"The Queen well remembers this occasion and much appreciates your thought in sending these photographs for her to see," she said. 

"Her Majesty is sorry that the coronavirus has made life so difficult for everyone this year.

"The Queen hopes that better times will lie ahead for us all in 2021 and I am to thank you once again for writing as you did."

Colleen Roper, whose family has run Rainbow Park Amusements at Hunstanton for 50 years Picture: Chr

Colleen Roper, who wrote to the Queen to highlight the impact of the pandemic on the showmen's community - Credit: Chris Bishop

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Mrs Roper, whose family are sixth generation showmen, said: "We were delighted to receive it.

"Obviously the royals have got connections with the fairgrounds with the royal charters and it's nice that they support their local fair, the King's Lynn Mart."

The Mart, which pitches up on the Tuesday Market Place each February, was granted a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1537.

The fair, which traditionally opens on Valentine's Day, marks the start of the travelling showman's year.

West Norfolk council asked Mart operators for their safety proposals for a Covid-secure fair in October. But since then, Norfolk has been placed in a Tier 4 lockdown.  

Mrs Roper, who founded campaign group Future4Fairgounds to raise awareness of the impact of the pandemic on the fairground community, said it was vital this year's Mart could go ahead.

"We're hopeful that by February Norfolk will be in Tier 3 or less," said Mrs Roper. "It's the start of the showmens' calendar, it's very important.

"It's imperative that all the fairgrounds can get going this season. The community of travelling showmen have been in very difficult circumstances. The pandemic has brought showmen to their knees."

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