Family of 1956 carnival queen to spread her ashes in Hastings

Peggy Jolly being crowned Hastings Carnival Queen in 1956. Photo courtesy of Vikki Jolly
Peggy Jolly being crowned Hastings Carnival Queen in 1956. Photo courtesy of Vikki Jolly

The ashes of the 1956 Hastings Carnival Queen will be spread in the town by her family later this year in a final parting gift to her.

Former St Leonards resident Peggy Jolly died on April 14, and her family have decided to lay her to rest in the town she grew up in and loved in September.

Peggy moved to the town aged two in 1931 and stayed for around 28 years, working at a factory and at a nearby stables just so she could ride the horses.

Her daughter Vikki Jolly said she remembers happy weekends in St Leonards visiting family and the seaside and thought this was the best place for her ashes to be scattered.

“Mum had selflessly planned her own funeral to take the burden away from us.

“The only thing that was never mentioned was the scattering of her ashes,” Vikki said.

“As a family, we decided that as she had so many happy memories of Hastings, this should be the place to finally lay her to rest.”

Harry and Charlotte Legg adopted Peggy and brought her to St Leonards two years after being born in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

The family lived in Brede, Marline Avenue, Blackman Avenue, and others and Peggy had a brief marriage with John Leighton, before marrying Terrence Jolly and had their first son Harry in Hastings in 1958.

Vikki said the couple left the town shortly afterwards, moving to North London where she and her sister were born, but they returned many times.

Peggy’s claim to fame was she once dated the late actor Richard Attenborough, as well as her success at the 1956 carnival, which Vikki still has the sash from.

Vikki said her mum was ‘not a great swimmer’ so her ashes will probably be spread on one of the hilltops in early September instead of the sea.

Paying tribute to the great-grandmother, Vikki said Peggy was jolly by name, jolly by nature and that she was very selfless and would do anything for anyone.

“Despite her Alzheimer’s, she remembered the past in great detail, it was the future she forgot about, but even before she died she would tell you about times in Hastings,” she said.

“She always spoke of Hastings with happy memories and she was very close to the people there, she seemed to have the best time.”

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