Tuesday, 24 June 2014
The Strangest Coincidence
This month I have a story called, 'The Girl in the Striped Sundress' (with a great illustration by Martin Baines) in The People's Friend Summer Special. The inspiration behind it is interesting and also very spooky!
A while back, I read an article in The Telegraph titled, The Mystery of the Blackpool Belles. It showed a photograph taken in 1951 of two girls sitting on some railings on the seafront in Blackpool. One of the girls was wearing a spotted sundress and this iconic image has been reproduced on postcards, books and magazines since then.
Apparently, for years nobody knew who these two girls were until, a few years ago, a lady called Norma Edmondson came forward to say that one of the girls in the photo was herself. She identified her friend, Alice Sumner, as her mystery companion. First reported in the local press, the national press soon got hold of the story and Norma became a minor celebrity. Case solved... or was it?
The only problem with this story, according to the article, was that Norma could not remember the exact moment the photograph had been taken. Then came a further twist to the story - following Mrs Edmondson's appearance on television, another lady,Pat Stewart, came forward to say that she was the lady in the spotted sundress and had evidence to prove it.
When I read this story, I loved it immediately and decided that I wanted to write some fiction revolving around it. This resulted in my story 'The Girl in the Striped Sundress' which is about an elderly lady who sees a picture of herself on a seaside postcard which brings back memories of the young woman she used to be - at the crossroads of her life.
The People's Friend really liked the story but it wasn't until after it was published that I read the original article again, more closely this time, and you won't believe what I found. Pat Stewart gave the name of the friend who was in the photograph with her and do you know what her name was?
.... Wendy Clarke.
Spooky or what!
You can read the full Telegraph article, 'The Mystery of the Blackpool Belles' and view the postcard, here.