|Mr and Mrs William Sanders, of Little-street, Rushden, celebrated the 50th anniversary of their wedding on Whit-Sunday. Mr Sanders, who says he “ain’t no scholar,” is a cheery old gentleman, who was 85 years of age on May10th. Mrs Sanders will be 76 next Michaelmas. Mr Sanders retains possession of most of his faculties but is not able to get about much now, although he says he can walk with the aid of two sticks.
“I was a very strong man in my young days, “ he said to a representative of the Rushden Echo, “in fact, I had the strength of two men. I was 34 years old when I was married, and my wife was 25 years of age. We were married at Wellingborough Old Church on June 4th 1865, by Canon Broughton. I worked for the late Mr R Marriott, of Wellingborough, for 30 years and for 10 years I was in the employ of his son, Mr Robert Marriott, of Rushden.
“I used to be a wonderful chap to stand on my head on the top of houses. On one occasion I stood on my head on each of 40 houses we had put up in Rushden. I also stood on my head on the top of Succoth Chapel when it was enlarged. The men were coming out of Cave;s factory at the time and a big crowd watched my performance. The late Mr Paul Cave said to his brother, Mr Amos Cave, “Good gracious! What old gentleman is that?” I was 60 feet above the road. I carried 20 nine lb. Bricks, a total weight of 180lbs., up a ladder on my head at one time. The building I went up was two storeys high. Mr Robert Marriott, jun., said it was a wonder I did not break my neck, and further said there was not another man in the town that could do it. I was between 40 and 50 years old at the time.
“When I was 60 years of age, I stood on my head on top of the tower of Mr John Shortland’s factory at Irthlingborough. I had an audience of 800 people to see me, and, bless yer, they did cheer me! They collected 7/6 for me, and I might have got double that, only they didn’t start collecting soon enough. Eight times I nipped up and did it. They asked me when I came down, if I trembled and I said ‘No,’ I wish I was as strong now as I was then, I should have had a go at the Germans. But no matter what they do they will be beaten. At one time when I was working for Mr Robert Eldridge at Wellingborough, 40 of us were sitting at dinner, when two men challenged us to feats of strength. I said “I take both of you on” and I set the task, which was to wheel 12cwt. of ironstone in a barrow across a plank, the loser to pay 10/-. The first chap only got half way across the plank with the load so I took it from him and wheeled it across and back again. The other chap said “I’ll pay. I shan’t wheel him, so you see I beat one and frit the other,” said Mr Sanders. I carried 30 stone of cement on my back when I was 50 years of age. Once when we were building Mr John Mason’s new house in Hayway I was going to stand on my head on top of the chimney but Mr Mason gave me 5/- not to do it.”
Mr Sanders, who by the way bears a strong facial resemblance to the Prime Minister, has lived 30 years in Wellingborough and 20 in Rushden. He was born in Camberwell, London, and was brought up at Hume, near Stilton, Hunts. Mrs Sanders is a native of Wellingborough, having been born in Pebble-lane. Mr Sanders continued at his work until 79 years of age and both he and his wife are in receipt of old age pensions.