A right Royal honour for Adstock couple

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An Adstock couple had the honour of attending a service to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty The Queen in Westminster Abbey on Tuesday.

John Nicholson, aged 72, was part of a choir that performed Vivat Regina at the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

His wife, Amanda, aged 66, has been a magistrate and is now county president of the British Red Cross. She was High Sheriff of Bucks in 2007 and is now a Deputy Lieutenant.

The couple have lived in Adstock for the past 40 years.

They were nominated to attend the service by the Lord Lieutenant of Bucks, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher.

Mr Nicholson was a 12-year-old schoolboy at Westminster School when he took part in the coronation ceremony.

He said: “Vivat is not really a song, it’s a shout. It’s a privilege of Westminster School that they are the first people to acknowledge the accession of the Sovereign.

“The electronics were pretty crude 60 years ago. You have to shout to compete with the trumpet fanfare.

“I don’t remember much about the original service but I remember the rehearsals.

“Sir Arthur Bliss was the Master of the Queen’s Music and he rehearsed us. He was a charming old boy.

“There were four choirs so there were an awful lot of little boys. They took a lot of handling.

“It’s an awe-inspiring occasion but little boys’ minds don’t take on the same fears other people do.

“It was such a filthy day and I remember having to step over people who’d been sleeping on the pavement overnight. They were in very high spirits despite the weather.

“The build-up to the service had gone on for such a long time that it became part of one’s life and you lost the anticipation of it.

“We were very familiar with the Abbey because we used to go to church there every day.

“When my wife and I went there on Tuesday, we sat in Poets’ Corner, which was exactly where we used to sit when I was at school.

“It was incredibly impressive, although there were no uniforms and very little colour there.”

Mrs Nicholson said: “I enjoyed it enormously. I was fascinated by the whole thing. I think every member of the Royal Family was there.

“It was amazing to see the crown on the altar that they’d brought fromthe Tower. It was the first time it had been back in the Abbey since the coronation.

“The weather was absolutely perfect and the marshalling of the crowd couldn’t have been better.

“There were 2,000 people at the ceremony and I was told there were 8,000 at the original ceremony. I’ve no idea how they got them all in.

“All I remember about the original coronation service is my father bought a television so we could watch it.”