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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 17th July 1931, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Fete and Gala at Rushden
Effort for Blind and Crippled Children
Criticism of Rushden Urban Council’s Action

The parade

One of the greatest events for charity in Rushden during the year, the fete and gala organised in connection with the Rushden United Working Men’s Clubs’ Fund for the Blind and the Crippled Children was held on Saturday, when a brilliant programme was arranged in Spencer Park.

The day’s proceedings commenced with a well arranged parade through the town, which started from Spencer Park, the route being via Washbrook-road, Wellingborough-road, Church-street and High-street back to Spencer Park. All along the line of the march, scores of people assembled to witness the procession and to praise the many competitors for their ingenious fancy get-up. There were fancy dress classes for youngsters, for boys and girls, men and women, individuals and groups, and this provided ample scope for the participants to exercise their ingenuity in devising costumes to attract the judges’ eyes. There was also a class for comic bands (and instruments) and prizes were also awarded for the best turned out of boys’ and girls’ companies of brigades and scouts, those displays attracted deserved attention.

The procession was headed by the officials of the Fund, Messrs. A. E. Haddon (chairman), H. Rice (secretary), and C. Twelvetree (treasurer), following whom was the Mission Band.

On returning to Spencer Park a formal opening ceremony was held, the fete and gala being declared open by a well-known and popular friend of the Fund, in the person of Mr. H. G. Lewis (secretary-superintendent of the Manfield Orthopaedic Hospital, Northampton).

Entire Sympathy

Mr. Lewis was introduced by Mr. Haddon, who presided at the opening ceremony, and who also thanked the public for the splendid reception given to them and spoke appreciatively of the large attendance. It showed, he said, that evidently the public of Rushden were in entire sympathy with the work of the Rushden Blind and Crippled Children’s Fund.

Mr. Haddon said he much regretted the action of the Urban Council in turning down their application for the use of Rushden Hall for their fete. Saying that he regarded the cause as equivalent to that of the Rushden After-Care Committee, Mr. Haddon declared: “I think they should not make fish of one and fowl of the other.”

Mr. Haddon, introducing Mr. Lewis, said he would tell them of the marvellous cures that had been affected at the Manfield Hospital.

Opening the fete, Mr. Lewis said he counted it a very great compliment to have been asked by the Rushden Blind and Crippled Children’s Fund Committee to declare the fete open.

“Putting on one side any personal feeling I have,” said Mr. Lewis, “I regard it as a very great compliment and a very neighbourly gesture on the part of your committee to have suggested my coming here to open the fete. We should publicly and definitely link up the Manfield Hospital with the Rushden working Men’s Club Fund for the blind and crippled children.

“I think,” he continued, “that we have been working as a hospital sufficiently long for most of you, at any rate to have heard of the Orthopaedic Clinic, which is working in your town week by week.”

To the clinic over 80 children of the town and the neighbouring towns and villages were going for medical attention, and to that clinic went their surgeon and nurses from the hospital.

It was very definitely a committee, an efficient committee, of the Manfield Hospital, that they had in Rushden. The work was increasing in efficiency month by month; many children had derived real benefit and a number had been saved from a lifetime of crippling.

He had been coming to their fetes for a number of years – the first time as a stranger – and ever since he had been able to tell them of the progress and work of the hospital.

Now he came not as a stranger but as a friend and a colleague of their committee.

Endow a Bed?

On behalf of the board of management at the hospital he expressed gratitude to the Rushden Committee for the splendid work they had undertaken during the last few months. He need hardly say that they were endeavouring to get £500 to endow a Rushden Working Men’s bed at the Manfield Hospital.

Mr. Lewis referred to the excellent co-operation existing between the Rushden Committee and the Manfield Hospital, and in conclusion said: “None of us are going to be happy until we have blotted out crippledom in Northamptonshire. You’re doing your part and we’re doing ours; and we’re all working as friends with nothing else between us but co-operation.”

Mr. G. Prior, chairman of the fete committee, expressed thanks to all who had given assistance, to the band, the competitors, the lady helpers, and the public; and spoke warmly of the Manfield Hospital and the manner in which it was conducted.

Prizes were then awarded in connection with the parade, and little Miss Tebbutt presented Mrs. Lewis, wife of the opener, with a bouquet.

On the proposition of Mr. Harry Rice seconded by Mr. C. Twelvtree, a vote of thanks was accorded Mr. and Mrs. Lewis.

Fire Brigade hose cart competitions were also held during the afternoon, and were successfully carried out under National Brigade Rules. Six teams competed for the awards, and the results were: 1. Higham Ferrers, 2. Irthlingborough, 3. Raunds No 2 Team. The judges were Messrs. L. Britchford and Sparrow, and the timekeeper, Mr. E. Hazeldine, of Raunds.

In the evening the Daytonas, of Raunds, gave several performances with living marionettes, while the stalls, attractions, flower-sellers and features of every year were often experiencing a busy time.

As in previous years, the Rushden Men’s Division of the St. John Ambulance and the Rushden Nursing Sisters, under Sergeant W. Burgess and Nursing Sister E. Boyce, were in attendance in the event of accidents or other mishaps.

Parade Winners

The results of the fancy dress parade were as follows:

Best character get-up for children under 10, 1, Jean Partridge (Girl of 1850), 2, N. and S. Gillett (Rumanian Gipsies), 3, M. Dilley (fairy), consolation, S. Barker and K. Childs.

Best get-up (boys under 16), special prize, Donald Ward.

Best get-up, (girls under 16), 1, “Darby and Joan,” 2, “Nursemaid,” 3, Aunt Liza comes to Stay.”

Best individual comic or characteristic get-up, men, 1, Reg Wood (Hiker), 2, Beau Brummel.”

Best individual comic or characteristic get-up, ladies, 1, “Victorian Lady,” 2, “Off to the Seaside,” 3, “Indian squaw.”

Best fancy or characteristic group, 1, L. Neal and party (Gipsy Family), 2, Mr. J. Bird’s party (Pearly King and family), 3, Miss D, Ainge and party (Sports Girls), consolation St. Peter’s Cheerio Party.

Best comic band group, 1, Wellingborough West End Jazz Band, 2, Rushden Tin Can Band.

Best comic get-up for factories and clubs, 1, Mr. Wooton and company (Vulga Boatmen), 2, Mr. and Mrs. Damm and the Damm Twins.

Best company turnout, boys, 1, Rushden Wesleyan Boys’ Brigade, 2, Rushden 1st Life Boys, 3, Rushden Scouts.

Best company turnout, girls, 1, Higham Ferrers Wesleyan Girls’ Brigade, 2, Rushden Wesleyan Junior Girls’ Brigade, 3, Rushden Wesleyan Senior Girls’ Brigade.

The judges of the parade were Messrs. T. E. Wigginton, Shepley; A. Sudborough, of Higham Ferrers; T. Hurst, of Higham Ferrers; H. G. Lewis, Harry Perress, R. Brittain, W. H. Green, H. Mitchell, Capt. C. Clark, and Sergt-Major Woodcroft.

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