Mary entertains the WI with humorous tales of a civic year

Ulgham WI

Mary Kelly gave an informative and humorous insight into her year of being the last Mayoress of Wallsend. She gave this talk as a one-off, but has been persuaded to continue giving it for the last four years.

Now Ulgham WI was to be among those entertained by her memories of civil and Royal functions, sharing the poignant and amusing occasions in the year.

Mary brought along many photographs, orders of services and menus from her year as Mayoress in 1973-74. Her father was Mayor, but due to ill health her mother was unable to fulfil the duties so Mary was ‘volunteered’. It was perhaps appropriate as the first Mayor and Mayoress of Wallsend in 1901 were also father and daughter.

Mary eloquently described the Mayor-making ceremony, which took place on May 27, 1973, and in July came the Royal garden party. We were taken through sports days, prize-givings, ‘at home’ receptions, and visits to care homes and over 60s clubs. Mary recalled how she had felt like Eva Peron on New Year’s Eve as she stood on the Town Hall balcony and waved at the crowds as the foghorns and hooters sounded and the gun fired at the Spanish battery.

The final event was to sign out on March 31, which was also her father’s birthday. They were the last Mayor and Mayoress of Wallsend as of April 1 it became part of North Tyneside.

We felt privileged to have her as a speaker and people spent considerable time looking through her memorabilia. It was easy to see why she was still giving this talk.