In honour of the coronation of King Charles III, 87-year-old Brian Kesteven has been sharing the story of how he cycled over 100 miles to see the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1953, the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, Brian, who lives at Ebor Court care home in York, was 18 years old and studying at the Bath School of Art
As other students travelled home for the summer to watch the coronation on their families’ television sets, Brian and his friend, Brian Matthews, decided they wanted to experience the coronation too.
Unfortunately, neither of the teenagers’ families owned television sets, so they came up with a plan – they would cycle over 100 miles overnight, from Bath to Westminster Abbey. Brian said,
‘We set off as soon as we decided to go! Originally, we set off on a tandem bike, but after being I was crowned in the face by a tree branch, we decided to turn back and ride separate bikes.
‘We started on the A4 towards Reading, stopping on the side of the road for breaks and listened to the Nightingales sing.
‘On a couple of occasions, lorry drivers allowed us to cling on to the side of their vehicles and dragged us along. We cycled through the night and arrived in London soaking wet.’
Brian and Brian left their bicycles in Victoria Station, along with their luggage, and walked to Westminster Abbey. Brian continued,
‘We thought we`d managed to get there quite early to avoid the crowds, but we didn’t! There were crowds of people everywhere. I remember seeing sailors in the crowds trying to find all the pickpockets and grabbing them when they tried to get away.
‘I saw Winston Churchill and the Indian Cavalrymen arriving at the Abbey – all their headgear had practically collapsed due to the pouring rain.
‘When the Queen’s carriage passed it was difficult to see through the rain, but it was a fantastic day, and one I will never forget. I have always treasured that memory.’
A day later, Brian and Brian cycled back to Bath to continue their studies and tell their friends all about the journey they had undertaken.
Now, Brian is looking forwarding to watching the coronation of King Charles III at Ebor Court, where the care home is inviting the community to a street party style celebration for all to enjoy.
Shane Talbot, the Home Manager at Ebor Court, said,
‘Hearing Brian tell the tale of his coronation experience was incredible, and we can’t wait to see our local community to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III!
‘We’ll have a BBQ, live entertainment, games, stalls, face painting, a bouncy castle and a live stream of the coronation. Its set to be a fun-filled family event not to be missed.’
The celebration will kick off at 12:00 on Saturday 6th May. All are welcome, and there’s no need to book.
To find out more, you can call Ebor Court on 01904 782 708, email email@example.com or visit www.idealcarehomes.co.uk.
Ebor Court, operated by Ideal Carehomes, is a residential and dementia care home, rated ‘GOOD’ by the Care Quality Commission. All bedrooms in the care homes are en-suite, enabling staff to deliver person-centred care in a dignified manner, promoting independence as far as possible. Ideal Carehomes was named the winner of the Large Residential Care category in the Laing Buisson Awards 2022.