Rushden Echo, 17th November 1922, transcribed by Kay Collins
Mr Owen Parker, M.P., at Home
Enthusiastic Reception at Higham Ferrers
Greeted by the Whole of the Townsfolk
Flags and bunting, a merry peal of church bells, the Wesleyan Silver Band, and the whole townspeople to greet him. Such was the reception offered to-day by the people of Higham Ferrers to their new M.P. resident, the first in the whole history of the ancient Borough to be accorded the honour of being asked to speak a people’s voice in Parliament. The town’s business was suspended very largely so that a large concourse could go out to the far end of the town to await the arrival of Mr Owen Parker, C.B.E., M.P.
As the cars (eleven in number) were sighted two rockets were fired from the Windmill Banks by Sec. Officer Twelvetree, of the Higham Ferrers Fire brigade (in the unavoidable absence of Capt, A Sudborough). At the Walnut Tree the Wesleyan Silver Band was waiting. The band led the escort slowly to the Market Square, playing gaily along the crowded route. People waved hats and hands frantically and cheered themselves hoarse in their endeavours to out-do each other in showing their warm affection to the man who has done untold service for the public, to be rewarded in so worthy a manner.
On the Market Square were assembled as many people as there was standing-room for! His Worship the Mayor (Mr Frank Walker, J.P.), wearing the chain of office, the Mayoress (Mrs Walker), the Deputy Mayor (Mr W W Chamberlain), the Deputy Mayor (Mr W Pettit, in official dress), and several prominent residents formed a group near the Cross, and, the cars passing in a semi-circle, Mr Parker’s car drew up nearby and an opening was made by the crowd, through which Mr and Mrs Parker walked to the Mayor, who greeted both with a hearty handshake and sincere congratulations. Meantime the cheering was almost deafening.
The Mayor’s Welcome
Standing on the base of the Cross, Mr Walker said: As mayor of this borough, I have very great pleasure in welcoming home one of our citizens who has come through a most strenuous fight and has won a magnificent victory for his party. It may seem peculiar to some of you that I, as a member of the labour party, should be offering the welcome I am, but i think I am broadminded enough to recognise and to pay tribute to merit, from whatever source it comes. (Applause) This is the first time in this ancient borough’s history that we have had a citizen who is an M.P. I am sure I hope that Mr parker will enjoy good health as long as he holds the position, and I offer him on your behalf and mine a very heart welcome. (Loud applause)
Mr Parker’s Reply
Mr Parker replied: Mr Mayor and dear friends.This welcome home is a great surprise to my wife and myself. I need hardly tell you it is very touching. It is touching because, as the Mayor has indicated, it is personal rather than political. (Hear,hear) This is not the moment for me to discuss with you or with anyone else the cause for which I stood, and the cause for which i am glad I triumphed. It is a delight to feel, after living one’s whole life in this town, that in the moment of triumph you can greet one with a welcome like this. (Applause) Neither my wife nor I am ever likely to forget it. It will spur us on to greater effort than ever in the cause of those amongst whom we live. Any service I can render in this division, as I hope to render in the division which i have the honour to represent, I shall render with the greatest thankfulness and goodwill. I won’t trust myself to say more. This is a great occasion, and personally I feel the responsibility which a large part of this county has entrusted to me. So long as life and health last I shall endeavour to discharge those responsibilities faithfully, and I shall always feel whatever happens in troublesome times, and also when the clouds are clear, I shall have support and goodwill amongst you, my friends. (Loud applause)
Mr and Mrs Parker were literally “mobbed” with friendly demonstrations as they endeavoured to return to their car.
Mrs T Patenall, M.B.E., handed Mrs Parker a bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums. Mrs Parker had had another beautiful bouquet from another donor.
The crowd, led by the band, accorded musical honour to their great citizens.
The band played the National Anthem as the cars drove off.