A DALES farmer’s daughter who was the star of Buckden Pageant in 1953 has died at the age of 92.

Evelyn Ponsford (nee Horner) was born on July 17, 1927, at Redmire Farm, Buckden. She was the youngest daughter of John and Violet Horner and was sister to Major, Hilda, Frank, Bertha, Sally and John.

Before Redmire, the family resided at Moorend Farm, in Kettlewell, and Evelyn attended Buckden and Kettlewell School.

In her youth she was nicknamed “Spug” - short for sparrow - courtesy of John Huck of Church farm, in Hubberholme, who later became her nephew-in-law. It is also said she was nicknamed locally as the ‘Blonde Bombsehll of Buckden’.

Evelyn was influenced by her sister, Sally, who joined the forces in WW2. Determined to “do her bit”, Evelyn joined the Royal Observer Corp and had to report any enemy aircraft flying into English airspace. The Army later learned that she was underage and requested her wages back but she indignantly refused, arguing that she was doing an “adult job”.

Evelyn will most be remembered for her star role as Elizabeth I in The Buckden Pageant of 1953 at only 24. According to history Queen Elizabeth I visited the Dales.

There is also a rumour that she was known as the ‘Blonde Bombshell of Buckden’ due to her striking looks, blonde hair and blue eyes, but no one is sure if it started after the pageant or not.

At 29 she decided to become a first class stewardess on the Cunard Line traversing the Atlantic to New York and Montreal.

Shortly afterwards she joined the Castle line. It was on the Windsor Castle in 1962 that she met her future husband, Ron Ponsford.

Their marriage two years later in Cape Town made the Sun newspaper and they left the liners to start a fish and chip business in the village of Swinefleet, near Goole, where they had one daughter, Elizabeth.

She loved to party and even at 90 she enjoyed a surprise garden party whilst sitting in her wheelchair all day.

Evelyn was a real trooper and carried on through all her aches and pains, accidents and hardships in her old age. She believed in sticking to things and persevering and always had a tale to tell even with a fading short-term memory. She died peacefully at Croft House care home, at Ossett, on January 27 with her family around her.

Reverend Moyles wrote a poem, the Ballard about Redmire Farm in 1937. He clearly felt moved to write of his feelings for the Horner family and Redmire farm and its inspiration has and shall endure in all our hearts along with the people who have lived, loved and laughed there.