A LONG-lost sepia snap of a legendary centenarian proudly showing off her bravery 'gong' has been unearthed - 90 years after she went to the aid of a policeman being attacked by drunken thugs!

It is now part of St Helens' folklore that 15-year-old Frances Polding was queuing for her dad's supper in a Liverpool Road chip-shop in 1906 when she witnessed the breach of the peace in nearby Phythian Street, and sailed in without thought of her own safety.

Fearless Frances was awarded the Liverpool Humane and Shipwreck Society Medal and parchment, together with a fob-watch from a grateful Watch Committee, with the presentation being performed by revered Chief Constable Arthur Ellerington.

And discovery of the vintage picture by her daughter Nancy Owen resulted in painstaking research of newspaper files by another relative, which yielded graphic detail on the public-spirited action of the local lass who is now Mrs Kingsley, aged 105 and a well-loved resident of Moss Bank Elderly Peoples Home.

The time-honoured citation reads: 'Frances Polding, a respectably-dressed 15-year-old girl of 180 Westfield Street, was in the chipped potato shop when she saw a disturbance involving three men in which PC Doig was attempting to arrest James McCormick, who was obviously under the influence of drink.

'The officer was getting the worst of the struggle as McCormick banged his head on the pavement and hit him with a clog, while other people in the unruly mob were kicking the constable as he lay on the ground.

'However Frances Polding thrust her way through the crowd to shield PC Doig from his attackers, managed to snatch his whistle from his tunic and summoned the assistance of other policemen, and McCormick was arrested, along with James Ashall and John Connolly, and they were later sentenced to three months imprisonment.'

PC Doig was severely injured in the fracas but later thanked Frances for helping him in a frightening incident in which he might well have been killed, while Chairman of Magistrates Mr Oppenheim and Chief Constable Ellerington were also loud in their praise of the brave conduct of a little girl in upholding the law.

The only survivor of a family of nine, a mother of two, grandmother of four and great-grandmother of six, this larger-than-life lady allowed herself a little chuckle when she recalled that hair-raising incident of so long ago on the gas-lit streets of the notorious Greenbank area.

"I finished up in lumber with my da (as she called her father) because, in the confusion, I left his plate in the chip-shop. And when I went back it had closed for the night so he had to go hungry after returning home from work. I got the rounds of the kitchen, I can tell you!"

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