Every year, a May Queen is crowned in Waltham.
The custom is not as old as it seems, but began a few decades ago as a way for the local school, the church and the council to celebrate our common life.
For the girl who is chosen, it offers a visible sign of trust: the May Queen represents the community as surely as the counsellors and the clergy do, and over the course of the year she will open fairs and public meetings, and be a sign of hope for the village.
For the community it is a chance to gather: the Rainbows will lead the dancing around the May Pole. The Brownies will decorate the room, and have helped prepared the tea. The Mothers’ Union and other members of the congregation will bake cakes and help everything to run smoothly.
For the church, it is a chance to throw a party, which is what we like best.
There’s no getting around the fact that this is a day that girls will enjoy more than boys — and the inequality of that is not ideal. But until we find a way to honour the boys and girls of the community equally, we shall carry on with local custom and crown the May Queen, sing songs and shower her with blessings for the coming year.