Mexborough and Swinton Times July 31, 1915
In the Name of Charity
25th Annual Festival
The weather, although somewhat uncertain, manage to keep fine on Sunday afternoon , on the occasion of the Conisborough hospital Saturday demonstration. The festival, which had been postponed from July 4, an account of the unappropriate weather prevailing on that date, attracted a large number of people to the castle grounds.
The procession, which was headed by the Conisbrough brass band, was composed of the following elements: Denaby branch of the St John’s ambulance Brigade, Friendly societies, Conisborough and Denaby Troop of Boy Scouts (Under scoutmasters Parker and Wheatley), Girl Guide’s (under Miss Marshfield), Conisborough Fire Brigade (in charge of Councillor W. H. Jones), Denaby and Conisborough nursing division of St. John ambulance Brigade (Mrs W. They in charge of Conisborough section and Mrs. Kavanagh and Mrs. Yates in charge of the Denaby section), and two decorated drays belonged to Mr Herbert Browning.
Mr C. A. Wilde presided over the gathering, and he was supported by Mr James Walton (Wath), Councillor. W. H. Jones, Mr Henry Thompson (Mexborough), the rev. W. A. Strawbridge, and Father Kavanagh.
The string orchestra which accompanied the singing had been arranged by Mr W. Wharton, and was led by Mr. Ben Wilson.
The Chairman said that he thought hospital demonstrations were gatherings which brought together, and the name of common humanity, all classes of people. The question every person might ask himself or herself that day was “what is my duty at this time, and how can I best serve my country?” Well, of course, the duty of the moment in this country was in fighting and in the production of munitions of war. But apart from all this, there was very real and very important work to be done at home. In times of peace there were various institution which must be kept going, and in time of war the appeals and demands for contributions towards the cost of these places did not decrease in any way, but on the other hand they got larger. That day they were appealing for support for the local hospitals. It was not necessary, for him to tell them of the good work those hospitals were doing, at the present time, because they knew as well as he did that a great number of the medical men of this country had volunteered their services for the tending and succouring of the wounded, and this necessarily meant that the hospital staff had been considerably depleted.
The hospital boards had very generously and willingly placed at the disposal of the government as many beds as they could conveniently spare, and it was for those people to see to it that the hospitals did not get into debt. The people of Conisborough always contributed to anything that met with their approval and sympathy. With regard to the relief committee, over £1000 had been subscribed, to that fund by the people of Conisborough since the commence men of the war. And they would agree with him that they had been very generous in that respect alone. The ladies of Conisborough had also sent out numerous articles of clothing for the men at the front, clothing which have been urgently needed, and needless to say, heartily appreciated. He thought they ought to embrace an opportunity like that, when they were able to subscribe to some worthy object, as a privilege, because at a time like the present they ought to be very thankful to be allowed to do something towards bringing the war with successful conclusion, with honour to the Allies (applause).
Councillor. Walton’s address, which was full of interesting and amusing antidotes, was very much enjoyed. He remarked that it had been said and rightly so, too, that he the hospital cause was the cause of humanity, and in his judgement the cause of helping and tending the sick and the suffering should have universal consideration. He referred to the biblical story of the good Samaritan, and said that no man true to the ideals of Christianity and true to the ideals of common humanity, would ignore comrades and a fellow who was lying on the roadside suffering and in necessity.
Although they were all there in health and strength, they never knew when they might be in need of assistance of that kind. He had himself worked 33 years at the coalface, and he had never spent a moment in the hospital as a patient. But he had a very trying experience a short time ago, when he saw his own son buried beneath a fall in the mine, and following an hour and a half they were there attempting to rescue him. They were successful, and the speaker said he breathed a side relief and gratitude when the boy was taken to the hospital. He had not the least fear at leaving him there, because he knew he would be tendered well, and would have all sympathy and attention.
The speaker said he was very pleased to hear the words of Mr Thompson with regards to what the hospital at Mexborough was doing, and what they were prepared to do in the future in the way of giving over their hospital for the reception of wounded soldiers. These institutions were really doing a great work, especially when they realise that the committees of the Mexborough and Doncaster hospitals, and other similar committees throughout the country, were prepared to lend this aid, to success and help and nursed back to health and strength the brave lads who were now fighting their battles.
He was sure no true hearted Englishmen would begrudge doing his part towards the maintenance of such institutions, and he was satisfied every family contributed as far as it was possible for it to do so. He referred to the yearly contributions of the Manvers Main colliery, and remarked that there was a certain party always advocating the voluntary system. Institutions of that character care never ought to be limited for funds, and they have plenty to of the essential have which makes the mare go.” He was not so sure he was satisfied with the voluntary system, and he fought that the government of this country should set up some state aid to help those institutions out of their difficulties. (Applause)
The state had plenty to do at the present time, and he would not advocate troubling them just then. At the present time the people should do all they could to help to bring the war to a successful termination, and to think of nothing else until that was done. It was afterwards when they had once more got settled down, that they would be tormented with such matters as these (laughter). He wanted to point out to them that it was not always the size of the gift that mattered, and the value was not always kinds by the amount that was given, but the amount that was left. A few coppers from the widow, a few coppers from the workingman, whose scarcely knew how the two ends were to be made to meet was appreciated far more than was a gift of a few coppers from a person with a plentitude of wealth.
In conclusion, he said that silver or gold or copper, whatever it was to benefit because of the hospital, they asked them to contribute to help on the case which he believed whole heartedly to be the cause of humanity.
Father Cavanagh and Mr Thompson also spoke. The Rev. W. A. Strawbridge moved a vote of thanks to the speakers and all who had helped towards the success of the festival and administration. W. H. Jones seconded and the mixed choir from the churches of Conisborough rendered hymns and choruses, amongst the latter being “lift up your heads” and “worthy is the Lamb”. Mr W. B. Wells conducted, and Mrs L, Badger, presided at the organs.