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Nostalgia: Lucky 13 for Beckbury beauty queen

By Toby Neal | Nostalgia | Published:

Phyl Dudley's luck was in when she went along to a dance at Beckbury over 60 years ago and emerged as Miss Beckbury.

Phyl Ridge, as she was back then, second from left, winning the Miss Beckbury title in 1956

"We just walked around the dance hall and then they called a number. I was number 13, funnily enough. That's my lucky number," said Mrs Dudley, who back then was 17-year-old Miss Phyl Ridge.

"It was at Beckbury village hall and I went to a dance with friends. Then they said they were picking Miss Beckbury, and we all circled round and they chose the winner.

"I was given a bouquet of flowers and a rose bowl. I was at the time a hairdresser working at Miss Harper's hairdressers in High Street, Albrighton."

Back then she was living at Badger, near Beckbury. She now lives at Tibberton, near Newport.

In the picture she names them all as, from left, Wilf Glaze, herself Phyl Ridge, Walter Glaze, Mrs Hann who was one of the judges, Frances – she cannot remember her second name, but she was from Shifnal and was runner-up – and Chiphine Hartley, who was third.

"That's how she spelt it. She had a very unusual name. She lived at Ackleton."

You win again – Phyl became Miss Preston the following year

Mrs Dudley says the event was in 1956 and came in the same year as Beckbury won Shropshire's Best Kept Village award.

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She thinks the organisation of the Miss Beckbury competition was something to do with a local darts team, and the Glazes in the picture were brothers involved in the team, both living in Beckbury.

She does not recall having any particular duties as Miss Beckbury.

"It was a nice honour," she said.

Then the following year she won another beauty title, becoming Miss Preston – that's Miss Preston-upon-the-Weald Moors.

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"That was at another dance, at Kynnersley, when they chose Miss Preston. I didn't live at Preston but I used to go and stay with my sister who lived in Kynnersley, the next village, and there was a dance at the working men's club. I liked the dances."

She was still working as a hairdresser, a job she would do for 11 years. She married Bill Dudley, who worked on the farm at Kynnersley Manor, in 1962 after meeting him at – where else – a dance at Kynnersley.

She lost Bill 15 years ago.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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