Event to mark eight decades of Leven Rose Queen

Rose Queen Sophie Davidson and her attendants.
Rose Queen Sophie Davidson and her attendants.

For eight decades, selected school girls in Leven have been crowned as the town’s Rose Queen.

On Saturday, Parkhill P7 pupil Sophie Davidson will be given the same sceptre, robe and crown that 69 other girls, some of whom are now in their ninth decade, were presented with.

Former Rose Queens will be returning to the event for the crowning, and a special evening reception is being held to mark the occasion.

Just over 80 years before Sophie’s coronation, a crown was being placed upon the head of Betty Ballantyne, Leven’s first May Queen.

The robe, crown and sceptre were donated by Mr R. W. Dickie, a technical drawing teacher at Leven secondary school. He designed and created the crown and sceptre. One of his students, 14-year-old John Baird, constructed the carrying boxes.

These items, along with the robe, are still in perfect condition all these decades later.

The event ran into difficulties in the late 1960s. Leven Development Association, which organised Leven Rose Queen, began having issues with the Town Council, and so there was no Rose Queen from 1966-69. Instead, the council crowned a Carberry Queen.

Leven Rose Queen did not return through the 70s. However, when Leven Community Council was formed, it was the dream of then chairman John Smith that the ceremony be resurrected.

It has remained a staple of the Leven calendar since 1980.

However, there will be one noticeable change this year. Due to a lack of volunteers on the Leven Rose Queen committee, there will be no Civic Week this year – something which has been held since 1980.

Despite the loss of Civic Week, there is still much excitement ahead of this year’s Rose Queen.

Linda Allardyce, chair of the Leven Rose Queen committee, said described reaching the 80th anniversary as “amazing”.

“I never thought we would see this day,” she told the Mail. “In this day and age, to get to the 80th is amazing. There are so few galas – not just in Leven but across Fife. But I think we have got a lot to be proud of.”

Linda has been a member of the organising committee for 35 years and has seen how the event has changed over the decades.

She said it was much easier to organise the Leven Rose Queen back then.

“You got more support,” she said. “On the day, the floats used to go from Carberry House right along to North Links.

“I’ve seen up to 20 floats and three bands.

“You can’t do that now because of health and safety. It was easier then – you didn’t have the red tape, you didn’t have health and safety.

“Back then the town was heaving.”

For the first time ever the crowing will be taking place indoors.

The event will be taking place at The Centre in Leven, beginning at 11am.

As well as Sophie’s crowning, there will be performances from local dancers, signers, gymnasts and more, and lots of activities for children.