Denaby Mourns Its Founder. – Impressive Scenes. Quarter-Mile Long Procession

January 1930

Sheffield Independent – Wednesday 15 January 1930

Denaby Mourns Its Founder.

Funeral of Mr. W. H Chambers.

Impressive Scenes.

Quarter-Mile Long Procession

Mr. W. H. Chambers, formerly managing director of the Denaby and Cadeby Collieries, who died on Friday at his residence, Clayworth Hall, Retford, at the age of 77, was buried at Denaby Main, yesterday.

A large and representative gathering attended the last rites.

The coffin came by road from Clayworth and was met at the Conisboro’ War Memorial by a detachment of the Denaby Corps of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, Mr. Chambers having been an Assistant Commissioner of the Association. At the colliery offices the company officials and members of the ambulance divisions joined the procession the church.

Evidence of the considerable achievements the late Mr. Chambers was seen in the large gathering of people representative of many called trade organisations and of all classes of the community in Denaby.

Mr. Chambers was himself the founder of the local corps the Ambulance Brigade, and another appropriate accompaniment to the impressive last officer was the full strength parade of the Denaby Corps. His return to the village of which he was largely the maker was attended by an impressive demonstration of sympathy.

Village Champion.

Colliers and their families lined the streets to the church; shops wore closed and blinds were drawn. The whole village turned out to pay a last tribute to one who was their chief and their champion.

The long career of Mr. Chambers, characterised as it was by tremendous activity, had come to an end.

The Ambulance band led the parade to the church, and Chopin’s funeral march was played. Ambulance officials in the procession, in charge of Divisional Superintendent R. Young, were Divisional Superintendents J. Whimpenny, W. Wilkson (Cadeby). R. Ross (Maltby), R. V. Simpkins (Mexborough) and C. Farrell (Conisborough), and Dr. J. F. Hamilton (surgeon to the Valley Division). Superintendent W. C. Winch (Wath Division) and Superintendent E. Soar (Barnborough) were also present.

The Nursing section was represented by Mrs. Farrell (Denaby) and Mrs. Ford (Conisborough).

The Yorkshire Amalgamated Collieries Company, which includes the Denaby and Cadeby Collieries, was represented Major J. Leslie, managing director and chairman of the company. Mr. L. Peake, director, Bawtry Hall, Mr. W. B. M. Jackson, director and managing director of Sheepbridge Colliery and the new group, Mr. Young, manager of the Cadeby Colliery and superintendent of the Denaby Corps St. John Ambulance Brigade. Mr. W. Still, manager of the Denaby Colliery. Mr. A. S. Bunting, of Brodsworth., who with Messrs. Young and Still represented the area staff of the Fifth District St. John Ambulance Brigade.

Representative Gathering.

Mr. H. Hulley, agent for Denaby, Cadeby and Maltby Collieries, was present. Dr. J. J. Huey, county surgeon for the district, Mr. J. Dunk, secretary of the Colliery Company, Mr. E. T. Hardy, chief engineer, and Mr. G. Severns, district officer. Capt. L. C. Hodges, general manager of the Yorkshire Collieries group, was unable to attend owing to the funeral of Colonel Barber’s son at Eastwood. In addition practically all the staff officials at the colliery offices were present. Representing Denaby Co-op Society, of which Mr. Chambers was president for over 3S years, were: Mr J. C. Watson, Mr. J. M. Williamson and members the staff. Fullerton Hospital Board was represented Mr. A. Ackroyd, Mr. F. K. Johnson (secretary), and Sisters Steele and Stead. The local corps of the Salvation Army, whose Citadel Mr. Chambers opened some 12 months ago, was represented Adjutant Sach.

Others present included Mrs. Levers (representing Conisborough Urban District Council). Mr. W. Thirl (Surveyor Conisborough Council), Mr. R. Troughton (Conisborough Education Committee). Mr. V. Roberts (president of the Cadeby Y.M.A.). Mr. B. Brown and Mr. H. Ackroyd (Workers’ Union, Denaby), Mr. W. Watson (headmaster Rossington street School), Mr. Arthur Robinson, Mr. W. H. Carlile (District Coroner). Captain B. H. Pickering (agent of Rossington Colliery). Mr. G. Kilner (Kilner Bros., Conisborough), Mr. H. L. Smethurst (architect to Denabv Colliery), Mr Leonard Else and Major Max Lewis (William Cooke and Co., Sheffield), Major M. Pope (chairman of the Old Colliery Co.), Dr. Ford (Denaby), Mr. J. H. Laverick, Tinsley Park). Mr. A. E. Soar, Mr. H. Watson Smith (Sheffield ‘ Coal Co.). Mr. Claude E. Wales (Commercial manager, Denaby and Cadeby Collieries).

Overcrowded Church

The family mourners and personal friends who followed immediately behind the cortege included Mrs. Chambers (widow). Mrs. G. White (mother-in-law), Mr. E. C. Davison. Clayworth (brother in-law); Mr. T. Davison, Nottingham (brother-in-law); Dr. McCall (Bournemouth) and Mr. R. Payne (Wath).

The funeral service, which was conducted by the Rev. H. Lee (Vicar of Conisborough, and formerly Vicar of Denaby), assisted the Rev. H. Gregory (formerly curate Denaby and now of Gleadless. Sheffield), was characterised by its simplicity. Upon the coffin which was taken into the church on the shoulders of six ambulance sergeants, was laid Mr. Chambers’ ambulance hat and belt.

The church was crowded and the aisle was lined three deep with villagers and friends. Hundreds waited outside unable to find accommodation in the church. The service was choral.

In a brief address the Vicar spoke of Mr. Chambers’ great work for the village of Denaby.

Had it not been for his work they would not have been meeting in that church, for the building of which Mr. Chambers was responsible.

“Wherever you go in the village—you may look at the large hall, the Institute, the Fullerton Hospital, the Colliery offices, at the streets of Denaby Main and at many other things—you think of Mr. Chambers,” added the Vicar.

Thirty Wreath Bearers.

“We bow our heads before his memory and thank God for what he did and what he made of this place. We remember with thankfulness, beyond everything else, that he was a man of faith and of great religious conviction.”

The procession from the church to the cemetery, in which there were 250 ambulance men, was over a quarter a mile long. Thirty of these men carried the wreaths the grave, which was lined with polyanthus, narcissus and evergreens, the work of Mr. Chambers’ head gardener.

The Dead March from “Saul” was played, and, over the grave, Mr. G. Glasby sounded the Last Post. There were wreaths from the colliery offices, the Ambulance Brigade divisions, the Fullerton Hospital, and the workers’ associations.