|Rushden Echo May 12th 1916, transcribed by Kay Collins
Mr John Claridge J.P., C.C.
Rushden Gentleman Honoured
Presented with an Illuminated Address by the Men’s Adult School
A pleasing ceremony took place yesterday at the Rushden Men’s Adult School on Sunday morning, when Mr John Claridge, J.P., C.C., who, for upwards of 15 years, has been secretary of the Men’s School, and who has now resigned the position, was presented with an illuminated address which expresses in suitable terms the members’ appreciation of his faithful service.
Mr T Surridge, who presided, in making the presentation, said that the members of the school were exceedingly thankful for Mr Claridge’s speedy recovery to health. They also had satisfaction in the knowledge that although Mr Claridge had resigned the secretaryship he had not left the school. In the name of the members he had pleasure in asking Mr Claridge to accept the illuminated address as an expression of their sincerity and goodwill. (Applause)
Mr Claridge, in response, said that he felt incapable of adequately expressing his thanks for the kind words that had been said concerning him, and in appreciation of his services to the school. When Wellingborough friends came over to Rushden some years ago with the idea of starting a school in Rushden they came to consult him as to the possibility of the inauguration of such an institution. He had read and heard of what had been done in Birmingham by Mr White, and he had been led to believe that the Adult School movement was a very good thing. A meeting was therefore held in the Public Hall, and although the attendance was not so good as it might have been, it was thought advisable to start
A School in Rushden
and the school was begun in October. The work progressed, and in a very short time the Rushden school was known all over England, and very soon it was found necessary to obtain a larger room, as they had upwards of 300 or 350 members on the books. Recently he had felt that the secretaryship should be in the hands of a younger man, and thus had been led to tender his resignation. There were large numbers in the town they would welcome as members of the Adult School, and he believed that the movement was calculated to uplift such as became associated with it, morally, socially, and spiritually. Practically since his childhood he had held secretaryships of one organisation or another, and he had been secretary of the Rushden Men’s Adult School since its inauguration. He hoped sincerely that the members of the school would continue to do all in their power to further the interests of the Adult School movement in the town and be a power for righteousness. It was, he said, most difficult to persuade old people round to their way of thinking, so it was essential that a hold be obtained upon the young people. Let the members live their beliefthe power of example was most important. He sincerely thanked the members for their kind recognition of his service.
Mr F Berrill, who succeeds Mr Claridge in the secretaryship of the school, read the following letter from Mr T H Bond (St Albans), a former president:-
“Many thanks for your letter inviting me to attend the very happy and important ceremony to take place on Sunday next. I should certainly very much like to be present to give my personal testimony to the helpful comradeship I enjoyed for about 14 years with mr Claridge, but circumstances will not permit. Hence I would like to say by letter how pleased I am that the School is endeavouring to express its appreciation of his many years of consistent, indefatigable, unselfish, and
in this manner. Such a token to the recipient is not only a mark of esteem for services rendered, but it is also indicative of the keen perceptivity and appraisement of those high qualities evidenced by those who have made the gift. I hope that Mr Claridge will live many years to enjoy the good fellowship of Adult School association, and by his intrinsic qualities of mind and spirit help to maintain its prestige, and encourage and foster its development. With all regards to you and those that I feel to be fellow members.”
Mr Geo Rippiner (Woodford Halse), a former member of the school, in the course of a letter regretting inability to attend, wrote:-
“It would have given me keen pleasure to be able to render my little testimony to the value and importance of the work done by Mr Claridge in the Adult School movement. Will you wish him, on my behalf, many years of continued and happy service in the brotherhood movement, for though he may be retiring from official service, he is not of the sort to run out in the
that still lies ahead, and that will be keenly felt when the physical war is stilled. I hope that he will still continue to attend your meetings and associate himself with you, for the name alone of such a worker is an asset of great value to the school. I wish, how much you do not know, that I was still with you, for I feel that here I am isolated from so much that gives the keenest pleasure and zest to one’s life”.
Further remarks in appreciation of Mr Claridge’s valued work were made by Messrs C H Blunsom, A Short, G Scrivener, A C Allen (Irthlingborough), W W Rialm A Bates (on behalf of the choir) and Staniland.
Mr C Cross, the first president of the school was unavoidably prevented from attending being away from home.
The framed address was supplied by the CWS, Longsight, and the text is as follows:-