...and Queenie puts us right about High Bick' elephant

THE day an elephant came to High Bickington has brought back special memories for 85-year-old Queenie Shapland. Last week we featured a picture of an elephant being shod by the blacksmith in High Bickington among a selection of Beaford Centre archive p

THE day an elephant came to High Bickington has brought back special memories for 85-year-old Queenie Shapland.

Last week we featured a picture of an elephant being "shod" by the blacksmith in High Bickington among a selection of Beaford Centre archive pictures taken by the late James Ravilious.

Could any reader throw any light on the subject? we asked.

Queenie certainly could. The blacksmith was her father Archie Merrifield and Queenie was there at the time, a girl of just eight-years old.


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She recalled how in her childhood the circus would call each year. On this occasion, around 1932, one of the circus' ponies needed shoeing. But the pony was friends with the elephant and would go nowhere without her.

"So when the pony came to be shod, the elephant had to come too," said Queenie. "My father was actually shoeing the pony, which was under the elephant."

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Her father was blacksmith in the village from 1924 and her brother also worked with him, said Queenie, who is now living in Exmouth.

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