Derriaghy Garden Centre
Opening Day by Violet Carson
Violet Carson, best known as Ena Sharples of
Coronation Street, UK's longest running TV Soap. Sam named a rose after Violet.
Flora Pickering and Pat Ruddock (centre) were two of
the lucky girls to get Violet's autograph.
Being part of the office staff at McGredy in Portadown both Flora and
Pat assisted with the organisation of the opening day.
Violet Carson with Sam swamped by autograph
A small section of the massive crowd on opening day.
A little background on
Born: 1 September 1898, Ancoats, Manchester
Married: George Peplow (d: 1928), Manchester Cathedral, September
Died: 26 December 1983
Violet Carson was born in German Street, Manchester on 1 September
1898. She was the oldest of two daughters born to a flour miller and his
amateur singer wife. At the age of three, Violet began taking piano
lessons whilst being educated in a Church of England School.
She left school in 1918 and began playing the piano at Market Street
cinema in Manchester. When speaking films arrived, she turned her career
towards adverts and sang and played in radio commercials. During World
War II she played the piano on BBC radio but in 1964 she joined the
radio show Have A Go with Wilfred Pickles.
At the age of thirty, Violet became 'Auntie Vi' on BBC radio's Children's
Hour and worked with a child actor called Tony Warren. She later
went on to work on BBC North Region's Woman's Hour, he was to go
on to create Coronation Street. In October 1960 Violet was asked to
audition in Manchester for the role of Ena Sharples in the new series
Coronation Street. She was successful and on 9 December 1960 the country
met battle axe Ena. Violet was awarded the OBE the 1965 Queen's Birthday
Honours List and remained one of the shows favourite characters until
ill health forced her to leave in 1981. Violet has been honoured by wax
statues in Madame Tussauds in both London and Blackpool, had a
rose named after her by Sam McGredy of Portadown and in 1973 received a degree of Master of Arts from
Violet married her childhood sweetheart, road contractor George
Peplow at Manchester Cathedral in September 1926 at the age of twenty
eight. George passed away in 1928. Violet settled in a bungalow in
Cleveleys, Blackpool with her sister Nellie. She passed away on Boxing
Day 1983 at the age of 85. She was buried at Bispham Parish Church,
Blackpool. Violet often claimed to be seven years younger than she
actually was - which is why her birthday is often given as 1 September