Old Folk’s Feasts and Senior Citizens Club

Old Folks Treat /Senior Citizens Feast/ Senior Citizens Club

Netherthong, in common with every village, hamlet etc in England, always cared for its senior citizens. Let’s face it , if you’re not in that group yet you are on the way – it’s just a question of time. Over the years the care has taken many guises, there were Old Folk’s Treats, an annual Senior Citizens Feast and a Senior Citizens Club that met regularly, normally fortnightly, with a wide range of activities. Having said that, a public meeting, held in March 1957  to consider the formation of a Good Companions Club for people of pensionable age, made some progress but the attendance was disappointing. It appeared that few people in Netherthong were prepared to work for their elders and Mr.J.Burton of Leas Avenue was hoping to get volunteers. Nothing further was reported but as you read on , there was a Senior Citizens Club set up in 1973.

Old Folks Treat

December 1924 was a red letter day for many residents in the village. A treat for all residents aged 60 years and over was promoted and turned out to be a decided success. Good weather prevailed and almost 100 villagers made their way to the National School where they were welcomed by their host and hostess, Cllr. & Mrs. W.Gledhill.  Motorcars were kindly lent by H.Sanderson, H.Wilson and J.Batley to carry 27 guests to and fro. A good fare of beef,ham and tongue was provided and the local butchers, J.Mallinson and Brook Turner, did the carving. After the food, many of the guests retired to the smoke room where they had the run of a good supply of tobacco. Cllr. W.Gledhill thanked all the people of Netherthong for their generosity towards the event and  added that 157 invitations had been sent , there were 121 guests present, 27 teas had been sent out and 9 aged people had been unable to attend. The combined years of the 157 people were 10,300 which gave an average age of 65 years and 7 months. An interesting fact was that  a mother and her two daughters  with a combined age of 215 years, attended. They were  entertained by music  provided by the ” Magpies ” which was  followed by  supper. On leaving each lady received a gift of a 1/4 lb. of tea and the gentlemen were given a packet of tobacco. 

A general meeting was held in September 1925 to discuss whether to hold another Old Folk’s Treat and it was unanimously agreed. Cllr.W.Gledhill was re-elected president. Mr.J.Woodhead J.P., Cllr. F.Ogden & W.Batley were appointed vice-presidents and a strong committee was formed with Mr.Lewis Heywood as treasurer and Mr.J.Batley as secretary. Once again it was decided that residents aged 60 years and over should be eligible for the treat.

This second annual treat was held on December 5th. and the more aged and infirm residents were conveyed in cars kindly provided by H.Wilson and B.Batley. 160 invitations had been issued, 111 people had sat down and 37 teas had been sent out to those who could not attend. After grace had been sung by the Quartette Party, the old folk were served with beef, ham and tongue carved by the two local butchers, Jas. Mallinson and Brook Turner. Many of the guests retired to the smoke-room where there was a plentiful supply of tobacco. The tea was followed by a most enjoyable entertainment and, at the close, supper was provided and before leaving each guest received a packet of sweets, a gift from Mrs.Gledhill , and a packet of tea for each lady and an ounce of tobacco for the men both courtesy of the Co-op. Since the first treat a year before,  the following 11 old folk had passed away – Mr.R.Mitchell, Mr.R.Russell, Mr.J.Hobson, Mrs.T.Russell, Mrs.Dickenson, Mrs.Sykes, Mrs. Lockwood, Miss Ann Haig, Mrs.Marshall and Mrs.Bainbridge.

There was no record of one being held in 1926 but in 1927, with favourable weather, 93 citizens were present  with a further 30 attended to in their homes. It was held in the National School and a sumptious feast was provided after which the ” smoke room ” was a popular venue to retire to.The total years of the guests were 7,854 giving an average of over 65 years. The oldest lady present was Mrs.Charles Hobson and the oldest man was Mr.Fred Hobson. There were lots of speeches and thankyous and each lady received a packet of tea and the men a packet of tobacco. Entertainment followed and, after the National Anthem, supper was handed round and the guests returned home.

A public meeting was held in October 1928 to consider once more holding an old folks treat and it was unanimously agreed to hold one on November 28.  Mr.W.Gledhill was re-elected president. The treat followed a similar pattern to previous ones with 90 guests sitting down and teas sent out to 31 residents. Having described the food the previous year as scrumptious , the reporter ,wanting to use a different adjective, decided to go one better and he called the food voluptuous. The mind boggles.

The committee decided that the treat for 1929 would be held on November 16. Mr.V.Gledhill was once again re- elected president with Cllrs. Ogden, Batley, Lockwood and Mr.C.Floyd as vice- chairman. A strong committee was appointed with Lewis Heywood as treasurer and J.Batley as secretary.The actual party was little changed from previous years, 80 guests attended at the National School and meals were sent out to 30 residents. The oldest man , George Sanderson ( 82 ) received a walking stick and Mrs. Roebuck ( 78 ), a shawl.

At the 1930 treat, 80 attended with 40 teas sent out. The knife and fork tea was presided over by Mr.W.Batley, Miss Joan Woodhead, Mrs.R.Trotter, Mrs.Porter, Mrs.H.Hobson and Mr.J.Batley  with Mr.W.Gledhill presiding. Mr.J.Batley , the hon.sec., said it was the 7th. annual treat and he presented a walking stick to Joseph Hobson, the oldest man there and a shawl to Mrs.Kenyon. The runners up were Mr.G.Sanderson and Miss Dytch.

 The  1931 treat continued the normal pattern with 91 sitting sitting down for food and 34 teas sent out. The combined ages came to 8,565. The 9th. treat in 1932 had 80 attending the event with 36 treated at home. Prizes were given to the oldest – Ladies Mrs. Ingle of Lower Hagg  and Miss Dytch. Men S.Horner and Mr.Fisher. Gifts were also presented to those guests who had been married for more than 50 years. The 13th. Annual treat was held in the National School in December1936   , attendance was 80 and teas were sent out to a further 40 who could not attend. Mr. V. Gledhill, the president, and his wife were the host and hostess. The prizes for longevity were given to Miss Mallinson of Deanhouse aged 77 years and Mr. Donkersley aged 80 years. In 1937 the Gledhills  were still going strong  organising the event  and  90 attended with a further 38 others who were unable to attend. The number of years represented totalled 8,700.The taxis were provided by J.Middleton. The prizes for longevity went to Mrs. Carter, Thongs Bridge, and Mr.Ingle from Oldfield.

The very first Senior Citizens Feast was held in the Junior School in November 1973 when more than 130 senior citizens were royally entertained. The tea was provided  by Brownies and Guides, Cub Scouts and Scouts  and one child was allocated to each senior citizen and the church choir  supplied the entertainment. The bulk of the money came from an auction held at the Clothiers and the event was organised by Cllr.W.Carter and Mrs.Houghton was the compere. Mr. David Clark the MP for Colne Valley also attended.

A brass ensemble played carols and hymns at the Christmas party in December 1977 and the members were R.Swallow, K.Mallin, J.Wood, D.Mallin, R.Hall, A. Boothroyd, J.Whitaker and Mrs. M.Mellor with the conductor Mr.W.Kaye. Whist and dominoes were played in the afternoon and the prizewinners were Mrs.E.Sykes, Mr.N. Hinchliffe and Miss Battye. Tea was served by the committee and the evening entertainment was provided by the Heather Singers. Mr.M.Mallinson thanked all the artistes.

Senior Citizens Club

 It started life in December 1972 at a special meeting held in the Zion Church Schoolroom when 28 pensioners voted to form a Senior Citizens Club in the village. It would meet every alternate Wednesday afternoon. A large group of volunteers had already come  forward to help with the organisation and also to serve refreshments. It was formed under the guidance of County Councillor, the Rev. C.Stott, the resident Meltham Methodist minister, and the Rev.J.Capstick of All Saints. Mr.M.Mallinson was elected chairman and Mrs. S.Kettlewell the secretary. Mr.Raymond Hall, the former village sub-postmaster was appointed as treasurer. Committee members were Mrs. Coldwell, Mrs. Hallas, Mrs. V. Hobson, Mrs. J.Rothwell, Mrs. J. Pell and Mr. Peter Tempest, the Netherthong Scout Leader.

32 members of the Club braved the ice and snow in February 1973 to take part in a whist drive. The winners were Mr.J.O.Sykes and Miss Wimpenny. The next reported  meeting was in April when the speaker was the Yorkshire humorist,Mrs.Elsie Houghton, and it was held in the Zion Chapel with 48 members being rightly entertained.  Four of the senior citizens, Mrs.Hobson, Mrs. Fallas, Mrs. Horn and Miss Sykes, left the village on June 9 at the start of a weeks holiday at Primrose Valley in one of the coastal caravans provided and maintained by the National Trust for the Welfare of the Elderly and Holmfirth Round Table provided money to meet the cost of food and provisions during their stay. In July over 50 members visited Buxton and Bakewell for their annual outing. Next month they were entertained by junior members of the Honley Silver Prize Band and the Netherthong Brownies made cakes for everyone. The November meeting was well attended and members played whist and dominoes. The winners were Mrs. Littlewood, Mrs. Wilkinson and Mrs. E.Preston. Their first Christmas Party was held in December in the Zion School and it started with a whist and domino drive and the winners were Mrs. E. Horncastle, Mrs. Heppenstall, Mr.F.Germaine and Miss Rentle. An excellent tea was followed by games and the entertainment was provided by Mr.A.Boothroyd and his young brass instrumentalists. Mrs. Simms sang solos and Mrs. Elsie Houghton, Mr. Vernon Sykes and Mr. Wylbert Wemp entertained in their own style with songs and recitations in the Yorkshire dialect. Supper was served to bring a great party to its end.

At the first meeting in February 1974, Mr.Mallinson presided and paid tribute to the late Mr.J.Pell and Mrs.M.Hobson who had passed away since the last meeting. 51 members attended the meeting in April when J.N.Charlesworth gave a talk on ” My Scrapbook”. He and Mrs. C. Armitage showed old photographs of local views and events through a spectroscope. The next month was the annual outing and 64 members visited Harrogate and Knaresborough and continued to Wetherby where tea was taken at the Riverside Café. The next report wasn’t until September when the entertainment was given by Miss Sarah Whittaker, Miss J.McRiner, Master Jonathan Whittaker, Mrs.R.Shaw with Miss Dorothy Shaw as the compere. The last meeting was in December when the Netherthong Brownies Park, under the direction of Mrs. J.Rothwell and Mrs.J.Hellawell, gave an excellent concert. Solos were sung by Miss S.Whittaker accompanied by Mrs.R.Shaw on piano. Refreshments were provided and served by the Brownies. Mr. M. Mallinson and Mrs. F. Germaine expressed thanks on behalf of the members.

Their 2nd. AGM was held in January 1975 and the following officials were elected. The joint Presidents were Rev.Capstick and Rev. Stott, Mr.R.Hall was the treasurer, Mr.Mallinson the Chairman with Mr.A.Brook as auditor. The committee members were Mrs. V.Hobson, Mrs.J.Caldwell, Mrs.J.Rothwell, Mrs. S.Gledhill, Mrs. M.Robinson, Mrs.N.Hinchliffe, Mr.F.Germaine and Mr.J.Wood. Although the Club still met on a regular basis, most of their meetings were not reported in the local paper unless there was something of particular interest. At the May meeting games of whist and dominoes were played and the winners were Mrs.Sykes, Mrs. Fieldsend and Mrs.Hirst. A donation from the Clothiers was used to purchase food parcels which were presented to each member by Mr. & Mrs. D. Scholfield.

  The next report wasn’t until January 1976 on the occasion of the AGM. Rev.J.Capstick was elected president with Mr. Mallinson as chairman. There was a new secretary, Mrs. M.Robinson, and she was assisted by Mrs.N.Hinchliffe, Mr.R.Hall continued as Treasurer.The committee members were Mr.F.Germaine,Mr.J.T.Wood, Mrs.V.Hobson, Mrs.J.Coldwell, Mrs.J.Rothwell and Mrs.S.Gledhill. A short service was held in the burial grounds at All Saints when the ashes of Mrs.Amy Bailey were interred in the family grave. She died on December 28 aged 75 and had been a member of the Parish Church Choir for over 50 years. The only other reports for the year were in October giving the prize winners  for Whist and Dominoes. They were Mr.F.Germaine, Mrs. Woodhouse and Miss H. Buckley. They also planned to have a coffee morning and a bring-and-buy sale at the home of Mrs. & Mrs. McLaren of Giles Street. The Harvest Home at the Clothiers, organised by Mr. & Mrs. Scholfield, raised £105.50 for the Club , the Rev. Capstick conducted the service  and Mrs.Shaw accompanied the havest hymns. Mr. S. Dickenson was the auctioneer.

The 1977 AGM followed the normal format. The President was Rev. J. Capstick,  chairman M.Mallinson,  Mrs.M.Robinson secretary, R.Hall treasurer and social secretary with Mrs. N.Hinchliffe as assistant secretary. Committee members were F. Germaine, J.Wood, Mrs. V. Hobson, Mrs. J. Caldwell, Mrs. J.Rothwell, Mrs. S.Gledhill, Mrs. M.Sykes and Mrs. D. Horncastle. In the same month the patrons of the Clothiers raised £194.53 which was handed over to the funds of the Club. There were two events in June , the first was a bring-and-buy sale organised by the Club and held in the Zion schoolroom. £51 was raised and handed to the village jubilee fund.  80 members enjoyed  a tour of North Yorkshire  visiting Harrogate, Ripon, Thirsk and York. There were no further reports for 1977 and the first one in1978 was the AGM in January.The following were elected : Rev.J.Capstick, president, M.Mallinson, chairman, Mrs. M.Robinson, secretary, Mrs. N.Hinchliffe, assistant secretary and  Mr.R.Hall, treasurer and social secretary. Committee members Mr.J.Wood, Mr.W.Horton, Mrs.V.Hobson, Mrs. J. Caldwell, Mrs. J.Rothwell, Mrs.S.Gledhill, Mrs.M.Sykes and Mrs. D.Horncastle. Mr.R. Holmes was appointed as auditor. The members stood for Miss Sally Brook and Mrs. N.Charlesworth  who had died recently. The traditional Harvest Home in October at the Clothiers attracted a large crowd. A short service was led by Rev.J.Capstick. The produce was auctioned by Sgt.Peter Tempest assisted by Don Stangroom  and Robert Scholfield and a record £156 was raised of which £16 came from the money turnip. The proceeds were divided between funds for the Senior Citizens Club and the children’ treat. There was no AGM report for 1979 but at their meeting in March the members stood in silence in remembrance of Mr. H. Littlewood who had died the previous month. In April members were given a ” Sankey afternoon ” presented by Mrs. Hinchliffe, Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Ramsden and Mrs. Wilshaw with Mrs. E.Mortimer as accompanist. A vote of thanks was given by Mr.J.Wood.  Memories were recalled at the June meeting when Mr.H.Mann presented a selection of slides of Netherthong and Deanhouse taken many years ago by the late Thomas Dyson .  Dyson  was so well in the area for presenting slide shows on a range of subjects to many of the local organisations that I have given him his own chapter.

 At the AGM  for 1980 the officers and joint presidents were Rev.J.Capstick and Rev. G. Barrowclough, Mr.J.Wood was the chairman with Mr. W.Horton as vice-chairman. Mrs. M.Robinson was the secretary and she was aided by Mrs. E. Hinchliffe with Mrs. J.Rothwell the speakers secretary. Mrs. E.Kaye was the treasurer. The committee members were Mrs.V.Hobson, Mrs. J.Caldwell, Mrs. S.Gledhill, Mrs. M.Sykes and Mrs. D. Horncastle. The auditor was Mr.R.Holmes. The members stood in memory of Mr. R. Hall , a founder member, who was treasurer and speakers secretary since the formation of the Club. At the March meeting the prizewinners for whist and dominoes were Mrs. Roebuck, Mrs. Lowe and Mrs. Battye. Thanks were expressed to Mrs. V. Hobson, a founder member, who was leaving the district. Children from the primary school , prepared by Mr.S.Whittaker, presented Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to a large audience at the April meeting. Further entertainment was given by Misses S. Chappell and S. Whittaker with a selection of songs to the guitar. Mr.J.Wood thanked the artistes.

Village Feast

In  December 1986  the Village Feast Committee held a tea for 92 old-age pensioners in the junior school room. The photograph showed Miriam Roper and William Halford getting a cuppa served by Desra Horncastle, Sylvia Kettlewell and Christine Hampshire. The Illingworth School of Dance and Theatre presented a programme of dance and mime.

Old folk's tea December 1986.
Old folk’s tea December 1986.

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