Beauty queens in the summer of love

Forty years ago, those who are now aged around 60 were enjoying the 'Summer of Love” in Suffolk. I recalled that summer in Kindred Spirits a couple of weeks ago.

Forty years ago, those who are now aged around 60 were enjoying the 'Summer of Love” in Suffolk.

I recalled that summer in Kindred Spirits a couple of weeks ago. I was having a great time with friends, but I could not recall it being exactly a wild time here. Like many others I enjoyed the sex, drugs and rock and roll (well I never took drugs!) and from the early 60s, when teenagers had their own culture and music it was all lots of fun - but the 'Summer of Love' never really seemed to start in this area.

Was it too cold to dance naked on the Cornhill in Ipswich, or on the shingle beach at Felixstowe? Walking through town with flowers in your hair (I did have some then) would probably have been greeted with that fine old Suffolk put down 'As a lewd of owd squit'.

Former Ipswich girl Christine Glenn, who now lives in Garand, Texas, in the USA, said: “I missed the 'Summer of Love' too. I didn't know it at the time though. When I heard the song about going to San Francisco by Scott McKenzie I thought it was just a lovely song. I didn't realise it was an invitation so I stayed in Ipswich!

“I don't think my mum would have let me go anyway. I guess the closest my family came was when my sisters, Elaine and Sandra and I saw The Walker Brothers and Jimi Hendrix at the Gaumont. I didn't care for Jimi Hendrix either so I probably would not have fitted in too well in California.

“I don't think any of my friends knew about the 'love fest' either. In 1967 we were frequenting the dances at the bases outside town or visiting the pubs in town trying to meet 'the man of our dreams'. By the time we knew about it, it was all over. In 1968 Sandra, Elaine and I visited another sister, Judy, who lived in Los Angeles. Her husband was an LA policeman and he took us into town and as we drove down Sunset Strip, we saw a lot of leftover 'flower children' sitting on the sidewalks. The flowers were still in their hair, but were quite withered and worn out by then. It was kind of sad really. I like to watch the documentaries about the summer of 1967 though.

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“I think the British almost looked on it with a kind of disdain - we didn't want to sleep in the streets it was too cold! Maybe, instead of the Summer of Love that we missed in the 60s, we could all get together at a pub somewhere now that we're in our 60s!”

Glory Chenery of Nacton, said: “Your reminiscences of the Summer of Love 1967 stirred up my own memories with the picture of the 'Miss Anglia' finalists.

“I was one of the girls and an entrant in Miss Anglia contest at the Pier Pavilion, Felixstowe, in August 1967. I am third from left including the then current holder Nanette Slack. Marie Smith of Chedgrave (no 26) was next to me; Katherine Dannett (no 21) and Dorothy Dannett (No 19) were 18-year-old twins from Clacton. Sue Pearce of Lowestoft (no 20) stood between them. (No 14) was Sandra Collier of Bury St Edmunds, and next to her was the winner (No 6) Mavise Fyson of Canvey Island. There were rumbles/comments that Canvey was not strictly considered as being in East Anglia.

The other contestants were (no 5) Gillian Brett of Bury St Edmunds and (No 1) Gwenyth Bird of Lowestoft. I wonder where they are now?

In 1967 I was also 'Miss Harp Lager'. The 1960s were a very special time. In 1966 I held the title of Ipswich Town and Eastern Area Football Queen, and invited to a celebratory dinner in London to honour Alf Ramsey and I was photographed holding the World Cup.

Meanwhile Miss Suffolk 1965 is looking to get in touch with old friends still living in the county.

Jackie Grimes won 12 beauty contests in the 1960s, and this is a picture of her on holiday in the Dominican Republic.

She is now aged 63, and living in Chicago, Illinois - she has been living in the USA since 1966.

Jackie said: “If anyone is interested in contacting me my email address is

“I lived on Chantry estate in Ipswich.”

Motoring in the past was very different to today. Most cars were pretty basic with few gadgets. I looked back to those pre air conditioned, satellite navigation days recently in Kindred Spirits with pictures of Ipswich car parks featuring many of the models of the day.

Brian Ward of Bramford Road, Ipswich said: “Your car park pictures certainly sparked some motoring memories. The photograph of Tower Ramparts recalled the Sunday afternoon of a Civic concert in around 1960 when I parked my 1959 Ford Anglia, complete with backward sloping rear window, on that car park next to a beautiful Citroen DS.

Who should emerge from the Citroen, but Peter Pears the internationally famed tenor who was to perform at the concert! We exchanged nods of greeting, as one does with prominenti next to whom one parks!

“Your enquiry about makes of car owned by family and friends, there are many, but here's a sample; I had a Hillman Imp after the Anglia. Ours died one day half way up Valley Road hill when the gear-box broke up with a very expensive crunching sound. Poor Imp had to be towed ignominiously away. My father-in-law, the late Victor Baker of Mendlesham, had an Austin A40.

Victor learned to drive some time in the late 1920's or early 1930's, before the formality of a driving license. As I recall, the story was that his boss sent him to Ipswich to collect a new car. The man at the garage showed him how it worked and armed with this knowledge Victor drove it back to the farm somewhere near Stradbroke, encountering en route only a few horse-drawn vehicles. We noticed he always did tend to drive in the middle of the road!

Ford Cortinas and Zephyrs were much favored by Fisons Ltd as company and pool cars. I remember several journeys in a Cortina Estate up the A1 to the Yorkshire peat moors. Only senior people had Zephyrs1”

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