All The Queen's Horses! How Penwortham schoolchildren have created a display fit for royalty

It's been three years in the making, but now there’s a display fit for the Queen at St Mary's Church in Penwortham.

By Catherine Musgrove
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Friday, 27th May 2022, 8:19 am

More than 280 hobby horses are available to view in the church until June 4 to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

They have been decorated by children at Cop Lane C of E Primary and Howick C of E Primary, with a winner from each school congratulated by the Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire, Catherine Penny, on Wednesday.

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Photo Neil Cross; 270 horses heads on display at St Mary's Penwortham to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

The idea for the display was that of St Mary's worshipper David Ryan, a retired architect who says he "enjoys designing things."

Mr Ryan first came up with the idea to encourage people into the church before the first lockdown aged 83, and this weekend will turn 86.

He has previously organised the scarecrow festival at St Leonard's Church in Walton-le-Dale and also a hobby horse exhibition after seeing something similar on holiday abroad.

He has hand-cut more than 280 heads - one for every pupil at the two schools - and has had them stabled at his home in Walton-le-Dale until earlier this year.

Photo Neil Cross; 270 horses heads on display at St Mary's Penwortham to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee - David Ryan cut out all the heads by hand

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He said: "The Platinum Jubilee is an ideal time to display the horses, because of the Queen's love of them. In a way it's good that Covid delayed things because otherwise we wouldn't have had as good a reason to do it."

Rev Chris Nelson, vicar at St Mary's said: "It's been good fun.

"It's a great idea to mark the significance of this unique jubilee and the two children representing the two church schools are a credit to their school and parents.

Photo Neil Cross; 270 horses heads on display at St Mary's Penwortham to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee - winners Jack Smith of Cop Lane C of E and Phoebe Robinson of Howick C of E

"All of those who made the horses heads thoroughly enjoyed the process."

Mr Ryan said: "The horses are magnificent. Everybody who walks in says 'I've never seen anything like this before'.

"The Deputy Lieutenant was astounded at what the young children have done."

Church warden David Thornton, who is celebrating 25 years in the role, has volunteered to take a collage of pictures of the exhibition to London and through his contacts, have them delivered to the Queen.

Photo Neil Cross; 270 horses heads on display at St Mary's Penwortham to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

The two winners of the competition were Jack Smith of Cop Lane C of E Primary and Phoebe Robinson of Howick C of E Primary.

Photo Neil Cross; 270 horses heads on display at St Mary's Penwortham to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
Photo Neil Cross; 270 horses heads on display at St Mary's Penwortham to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee - winners Jack Smith of Cop Lane C of E and Phoebe Robinson of Howick C of E
Photo Neil Cross; 270 horses heads on display at St Mary's Penwortham to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee - winners Jack Smith of Cop Lane C of E and Phoebe Robinson of Howick C of E