Flying flag for Legion

Proud as punch: Frances Coles
Proud as punch: Frances Coles

Standard bearers all over the country better watch out when our local winner goes to take part in the national competition.

Frances Coles, 64, of Lostock Hall, has been involved in the Women’s Section of the Royal British Legion since 1969.

Outside of the British Legion, she has been helping the pupils of Lostock Hall Primary get to school safely for 26 years as a lollipop lady.

Frances took up the standard in 1972 and has not only won the Lancashire competition last year, but the North West competition as well.

She said: “I am quite pleased and honoured to go and take part, I believe that no one from our county has won the North West competition before.

“I’ve never done anything like it before, I’ll just try and do what I can and look forward to taking part.

“It’s a very nerve-racking thing to do, especially waiting while other competitors have a go. But once I’m in there I take a deep breath and once I get an order I just get on with it.

“Our equipment, uniform need to be spic and span, the standard also has to be highly polished. They check all this. Then we have to do drills and certain procedures.”

In February this year Frances was crowned the North West standard bearer and will go on to compete in the national competition on May 6 in Eastbourne.

She added: “It’s going to be an experience that will stay with me for a long time.”