THE Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this weekend will have a special meaning for a Woking couple, taking them back to the day they watched the coronation procession on The Mall, exactly 69 years ago today.

Trevor and Sonia Cook, who live in Horsell, and some friends spent the night of 1 June 1952 sleeping on the procession route to secure front-row places.

“There were several hundred people, sitting, laying or standing on both sides of The Mall,” Trevor, 91, told the News & Mail.

“We had our blankets and spent several hours half-sleeping, half talking and after a while it was six in the morning.

“The crowds built up to several thousand and suddenly we heard a lot of clapping and shouting.”

The cheering was not for the young princess but for the breaking news of the conquering of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay four days earlier.

The announcement was later described as a coronation gift.

Trevor said he and Sonia, 88, don’t recall seeing the procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey but do remember their first sighting of the new Queen on the journey back.

“We had placed ourselves about halfway up The Mall. After the coronation service you could hear cheers and shouting but we couldn’t see a thing,” Trevor said.

“After a while it reached us and we could see everything. We were lucky to be on the side where the Queen was sitting and so we had a good view. We got to see her quite clearly.”

Trevor and Sonia said one of the highlights of the procession, which included heads of state from around the world, especially the Commonwealth, was seeing the Queen of Tonga.

“She was waving and was more excited than we were,” Trevor said.

“It was quite fun to see her bouncing around in her carriage in brightly coloured clothes, waving to both sides.”

Trevor and Sonia joined in with the cheering and clapping and then moved up The Mall with the rest of the crowds towards Buckingham Palace to see the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and their two young children, Prince Charles, 4, and Princess Anne, 2, come out onto the balcony.

“The police started slowly letting us go up The Mall, controlling the speed at which it was being filled with people,” Trevor said.

The couple, who had started going out when Trevor was 18 and Sonia 15, were married the following year.

After National Service, Trevor began his career as an accountant and Sonia, who worked in the Foreign Office before they were married, became a teacher.

They have three daughters, including Helen, who lives in Woking, and a son, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The couple have always been involved in charitable work and this continued when they moved to the area 30 years ago, living for most of that time in West Byfleet.

Sonia, who had retired from teaching, worked in the Woking Hospice shop in the village and also helped children with reading at schools in the area.

Trevor helped various charities with their financial management and was one of the founding members of the group that worked with the borough council to transform the former Maybury Infant School building into the Maybury Centre, which opened in 1994. 

They will be raising a glass this weekend to the young woman, only a few years older than themselves, who they saw starting out on her 70-year reign.

“We are both 100% behind the Queen; she’s done a fantastic job,” Trevor said.

“We love the fact that when she became Queen, she made a promise that she would devote her whole life to the service of her country and its people.

“That was quite a promise, and she has kept it.”