Sam McGredy's

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 hunters.







A small section of the massive crowd on opening day.

A little background on
Violet Carson  OBE

Violet Carson
Born: 1 September 1898, Ancoats, Manchester
Married: George Peplow (d: 1928), Manchester Cathedral, September 1926
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 Manchester University.

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 1905.

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