Julie Cox, founder of the Pebble Patch Toddlers Group in Lanark, has been chosen to Crown Lanimer Queen 2016 Morgan Shillan.
Julie started Pebble Patch 25 years ago, when there were few places for toddlers in the town and although her own sons are grown up, she still chairs the group, welcoming new parents.
“Mums don’t realise this is a precious time and you don’t get that back,” she said. “That’s what keeps me going.”
Her dedication to the group led her into the Lanimer procession 21 years ago, and she and a small stalwart group of friends have turned out amazing entries ever since, building memories for the tots involved and and wowing the crowds.
In one of the Royal jubilee years her entry, a royal Corgi!, actually featured on the STV news programme.
“It is fun,” said Julie. “A bit of stress, but fun!”
Julie also elps with the new entrants group, giving advice and encouragement to those thinking of taking part for the first time. and those building their first entry.
Her long list of voluntary work began with the childhood of her sons Alan, now 25 and Marc (22) and followed them through school; as they grew older, she served on the parents group of Lanark Primary School, and then the school board of Lanark Grammar.
But those are just the more public faces of Julie Cox.
She is a clinical support worker, with the Out of Hours health services, and she also works with the district nurses in Biggar, Lanark and Carnwath.
And it is not just new mums or Lanimer entrants who benefit from her encouragement.
For 18 years she has served on the Children’s Panel, helping to support young people whose lives have taken a difficult turn. She still sits in hearings, but she is now part of the area support team, organising recruitment and training for the panel.
Despite all that, Julie still considers herself ordinary!
She and fellow Pebble Patch stalwart June Main had actually been talking last year about the Lanimer crowning “and I told her ‘we don’t need to worry about that; it does not happen to ordinary folk like us’,” said Julie.
And she was totally stunned when she was invited on Sunday to crown the queen.
“I am actually quite overwhelmed with it all,” said Julie. “I am delighted, gobsmacked, the whole array! And I am quite humbled that folk throught I deserved it.”
Lanimer chair Loraine Swan is in no doubt that she does deserve the honour: “Julie is an excellent choice,” she said, praising her for her dedication over many years.
And Loraine is impressed with Julie’s loyalty to the Lanimer procession - while other school groups change over the years, it has always been Julie and a small number of close friends behind the Pebble Patch entry.
“They have stuck with it,” said Loraine. “They have done so many entries oover 21 consecutive years.
“Julie represents people who have worked away on a small entry for a long time, and we need the smaller groups as much as we need the big groups to make it a good Lanimer procession.”
Julie and her husband Peter, who live in St Leonard Street, are originally from Carstairs and she has the support of her parents, sisters and wider family still living there. Up until now they have been helping with her Lanimer entry, but this year they will be at the Cross cheering her on. And June Main will be with her as her companion on the big day.