Bert Catlin is a man dedicated to town’s prosperity - He is Rushden’s “Unofficial Mayor”
Now and again Bert Catlin officially clowns about. For the rest of the time he is dedicated to the prosperity of his home town, Rushden, and the future of the 400 pupils at the Rushden Secondary School for Boys.
Once a year his large, well-built frame fits into the costume of a pantomime dame as he takes part in Rushden Amateur Theatrical Society’s production.
Six times in the last seven years he has performed his part with a humour that is an essential part of his everyday life.
When he is not making people laugh on stage and not deeply involved with educating the boys at his school Mr. Catlin still manages to cram his life with activity.
He is a member of Rushden Urban Council. Elected as a Conservative member for Rushden South Ward in September 1963, he is now chairman of the Public Health Committee.
Rushden born and bred, his interests have adapted themselves to the benefit of the town. He is what Bernard Shaw called an “unofficial mayor”.
His love and interest in rugby which began when he was a pupil at Wellingborough Grammar School developed to the benefit of Rushden and Higham Rugby Club. A founder member of the club, he has skippered “all the teams with decreasing difficulty” and now has abandoned the life of set scrums and line-cuts and has a more restful job as club treasurer.
A dominating man with a powerful handshake from a powerful frame, he has a full dace and a clear strong voice full of humour. Add to this typical rugby forward shoulders and the result is a formidable character.
His size is tempered with understanding. Ask his pupils.
Northamptonshire has dominated his rise from a pupil at Rushden’s Newton Road Primary School to headmaster of Rushden Secondary School for Boys. Success at primary school level took him to Wellingborough Grammar School where he won a place at Durham University.
The circle was completed when after Durham he returned to take up a teaching post in Rushden and eventually became a headmaster.
From 9am to 4pm five days a week Mr. Catlin’s life is centred around the interests , future and safeguards of youth. And to him even that is not enough. He spends a good deal of his spare time working with young people and is chairman of Rushden Youth Committee.
Some time ago Mr. Catlin was asked to become president of Rushden branch of the British Legion. He has heard from them once. “They rang me up once to lay a wreath on Remembrance Day and that’s as far as my associations go”.
Mr. Catlin has taken several speaking roles in operatic society productions but has kept well clear of any singing roles. “My voice would be enough to empty the hall”, he freely admits. “In the pantomime I usually turn out to be the dame which usually leads to some joking”.
But as far as the future of Rushden goes he does not joke. He is a serious councillor with the good of the town in mind and takes an active part rather than just passing interest in many societies.
Married with one child, he has a burden of responsibility on his shoulders as headmaster of a large school and an active urban councillor.
With the future of Rushden and its children in mind, Bert Catlin works hard for both of them. And it doesn’t look as if he will let either of them down.