The search is on for this little girl who has been described as the Shirley Temple of the 1950 Falmouth Spring Flower Show.
She was actually Penny Keeping who had been chosen to present a bouquet to the mayor’s wife, but seemed a little reluctant to part with the flowers. Organisers of this year’s show are hoping to track her down and invite her to be their guest at the show, to be held on March 29 and 30.
The photographs of Penny at the 1950 show are part of a “treasure trove” of pictures, newspaper cuttings and flower show schedules collected by the show’s first lady chair, Betsy Forsythe. Together with archive photographs from the Poly History Group, the collection will form part of an exhibition of memorabilia which will be on display in the foyer of the Municipal Buildings from March 13 to 29 as part of the Falmouth Spring Festival.
Committee member Jean Carr said: “We would love to find Penny Keeping, the little girl with the Shirley Temple ringlets, who was chosen to present a bouquet to Mrs Elkington, the wife of the Rev TH Elkington, the mayor of Falmouth and president of the 1950 show.
“There two intriguing photographs of Penny in Betsy Forsyth’s collection. One shows Penny clutching a bouquet which Mrs Elkington appears to be trying to prise from her. A second features Penny with a posy of violets. We want to know if they swapped flowers, and welcome Penny as our guest at this year’s show.”
Ms Forsyth’s collection also reveals that in 1947 all of Cornwall’s spring flower shows were cancelled because of severe weather - apart from Falmouth’s. A handwritten note, believed to have been written by Ms Forsyth, also reveals an odd pairing for the show.
It reads: “Exhibits surpassed all expectations. HM Queen Marie of Yugoslavia opened [the] show. Princess Chula Chakrabongse of Siam on the 2nd day.”
Reflecting on these snippets, Mrs Carr said: “Given our recent weather it’s heartening to discover that in 1947 Falmouth staged the only spring flower show in Cornwall and that photographs show just how spectacular it was.
“It appears that individual exhibitors, specialist daffodil growers, market garden suppliers such as Harcourt Williams, and gardeners from the town’s parks, hotels, and historic gardens such as Glendurgan, pulled out all stops and did Falmouth proud. Quite an inspiration for this year’s exhibitors.
“And, can anybody tell us what was the connection between a Queen of Yugoslavia and a Princess from Siam and the 1947 flower show?”
Anyone who can solve this mystery, or knows the whereabouts of Penny Keeping, should contact show secretary, Renate Davie on 01326 313658 or firstname.lastname@example.org.