Two 1953 coronation chairs on display at diamond jubilee celebrations at Baconsthorpe Church

Two chairs from the Queen's coronation will take pride of place in a north Norfolk village's diamond jubilee celebrations.

The pair of silver powdered British oak and regal blue velour seats are heirlooms in the family of former MP Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe who was among the 8,251 guests at Westminster Abbey for the 1953 ceremony.

His daughter Theresa Courtauld from Baconsthorpe near Holt, is loaning the pair of chairs to the village's jubilee exhibition, which is helping to raise funds for the parish church's �40,000 roof repair appeal.

The seats, which bear the 'ER' and crown stamp are numbered 159 and 160, were used by Sir Charles and his first wife Diana, who along with 2,000 other guests were invited to buy the chairs after the ceremony.

'They have been handed down to me now but we don't use them - they just sit. These are precious items,' said Mrs Courtauld.


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Fine arts expert Roy Murphy of Keys auctioneers in Aylsham, said the chairs were estimated to be worth between �500 and �700 each.

Sir Charles, who lived at Barningham Hall and was invited to the big occasion through his role as Conservative MP for Windsor, would have paid between �2 and �7 each for them.

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Mrs Courtauld, who hopes the chairs will be able to help raise some of the funds needed to restore the church roof, said: 'We've also got a stool used at the previous coronation in 1937.'

The coronation memorabilia exhibition included 'all sorts of wonderful things' but the village was also seeking more.

The exhibition will run on May 26 and 27 at the church from 10am–5pm, with a 6pm Evensong on the final day.

Authentic coronation memorabilia will be on sale at the event, as well as a home-made limited edition diamond jubilee whiskey-infused marmalade.

The group has also organised a 'film and feast' evening on May 25 where diners will be treated to a meal of coronation chicken and meringue baskets with red and blue berries, while watching a film of the coronation.

Finally they hope to run a 'draw the Queen' competition for children under 12-years-old, to get local schools involved. All entries will be displayed in the church throughout the weekend.

Churchwarden Tessa McGosh said: 'This is the beginning of the fundraising. We've got a preliminary grant from English Heritage but we need to raise in the region of �40,000.'

- Tickets for the 'film and feast' event are �6. For tickets and information call Corinne Youngs on 01263 577263.

- To get a taster of the exhibition click the top right hand corner to view a photo gallery of memorabilia.

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