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Years in Focus

YEARS IN FOCUS

KNOTTINGLEY IN 1979

REPRODUCED COURTESY OF THE

Knottingley in the 1960's as seen in the Pontefract and Castleford Express

25TH JANUARY 1979
DEATH OF MR AMBROSE ASKIN

Mr Ambrose Askin, who played rugby league for Castleford in the thirties, died last week at the age of 69. Mr. Askin of 4 Cardwell Terrace, Foundry Lane, Knottingley, played with Castleford for six seasons, along with his brother T.C. Askin, who went on to play at international level. Both brothers were members of the Yorkshire League cup winning side of 1932-1933. Ambrose went on to play for Keighley and then signed for Featherstone Rovers in 1939, but he never played for them. When the war intervened he was called up but injuries received at Dunkirk put paid to his rugby career. After the war he returned to Knottingley where he worked as a fish fryer. He leaves a widow, Mrs Mary Ann Askin, and three daughters. The funeral took place at Knottingley Parish Church on Friday.

26TH APRIL 1979
FRENCH RUGBY CLUB VISITS KNOTTINGLEY HIGH SCHOOL

Le Pontet, the French rugby league club visiting Knottingley High School, left on Sunday for their home in Provence. All 38 members had taken part in sporting and leisure activities while guests of Knottingley pupils and parents over the Easter holidays. During the visit Le Pontet seniors won two games and lost two while the juniors won three and lost one. On Thursday, at Knottingley Rugby Union Club's ground, two Knottingley High School teams beat two teams from Le Pontet at Rugby League. A reception was provided by the club's women's section and presentations were made.

Le Pontet gave a remembrance trophy of friendship to Knottingley RUFC and Knottingley High School gave a trophy to be known as the John Hall Trophy, in memory of a RU club member who died this year. This trophy will be presented annually by the club captain to the group or person who gives most service to the club.

On Friday the French boys were taken to Whitby for the day and a disco at night. On Saturday the two final games were played. Le Pontet juniors were up against a new youth team which has recently sprung up in Knottingley, and the seniors against Knottingley High School's under 16 team. A leaving party was held at the Green Bottle Inn, Knottingley, when ‘best player’ trophies were presented by both teams. At a final reception at the school the vice-chairman of the governors, Mr. G, Clark, presented personal gifts to each of the French party. Knottingley High School is now planning to take a party to France for a return visit next Easter.

3RD MAY 1979
MAYDAY FESTIVAL

About 400 people are taking part in a Mayday Festival at Knottingley, on Mayday Bank Holiday. The event at the Social Centre Playing Fields will feature sport and music. In the evening a Swimming Gala will be held at the Baths. All age groups are involved in the festivities, which have been run for several years by the Knottingley and Ferrybridge Carnival Committee.

17TH MAY 1979
SIX DAY HOLIDAY IN FRANCE

A party of 30 children and four staff from England's Lane Middle School, Knottingley, leave for a six-day holiday in France on May 28th. The children aged between 11 and 12 years, will stay at Carteret, Normandy. England's Lane have been giving French language lessons for about 4 years.

14TH JUN 1979
SUCCESS IN TALENT COMPETITION AT BUTLINS

Lisa M. Atha, aged 8, the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Atha, of 16 Cleveland Avenue, Knottingley, was successful in the weekly talent competition at Butlins, Filey. She played the recorder, which she learnt at Knottingley Vale School, and qualifies for the finals at Butlins in September.

14TH JUNE 1979
KNOTTINGLEY SWIMMERS THREE MEDALS

Knottingley swimmer, Linda Purcheon, has returned from Sweden with three medals. Linda, aged 14, of Kershaw Lane, set a personal best time of two minutes 23.04 seconds in winning the 200 metres Butterfly, and medley team event, and gained a bronze medal in the 200 metres individual medley.

21ST JUNE 1979
IMPROVED FACILITIES FOR PLAYGROUND

Fun and Games are playing an important role in solving social problems on Knottingley’s Warwick Estate. An adventure playground was built on the estate six years ago and social workers feel it has had a big effect on curbing delinquency in the area. Spurred on by the success, Wakefield District Council are to spend more on improving facilities and increasing the number of full-time playleaders.

The playground is to get a water supply, mains drainage with toilets and washing facilities; and the roof of the mobile unit is to be repaired. Social services chiefs also feel that one full-time senior playleader and two full-time assistant playleaders are needed to do ‘meaningful work’ with the children. They feel the playground is an invaluable resource to the Warwick and Simpson Lane Estates, which have the highest concentration of children - 1,500 aged between 8 and 17 - in the whole of the Wakefield area. Social workers are in no doubt that the already large child-care problem would be even more worrying without the playground. They feel it has a distinct preventative role to play. There are particular problems on Warwick because of its site and the number of families from different parts of the country, The playground is helping to build a cohesive community. The new scheme will cost 6,600, most of the money coming from urban grants.

28TH JUNE 1979
CANAL CRUISE

Ferrybridge and Knottingley residents had the opportunity to see their hometowns from an entirely different angle last week - from the deck of a canal cruiser. Almost 1000 of them clambered aboard the purpose-built ‘Calder Lady’ throughout the week and caught a glimpse of a very unfamiliar side of industrial West Yorkshire.

"Believe it or not, even in the middle of Knottingley itself, it was like being in the heart of rural England" said Mr. Colin Shackleton, headmaster of Roundhill Middle School in Ferrybridge and organiser of the schools Canal Week. "Surrounded by trees on both banks and with a clear blue sky above, you couldn't imagine you were in an industrial area. That was the whole idea of the canal trips - to give the children another perspective of their environment."

In all nine local schools, plus teachers and parent groups, boarded the ‘Calder Lady’ for a series of more than 20 trips around Ferrybridge, Knottingley, and Castleford, and with the blazing sunshine for much of the time, the week was an unqualified success. "It's been marvellous and now we are thinking of doing it next year." says Mr. Shackleton.

5TH JULY 1979
EARL OF ROSSE DIES

The Earl of Rosse, a man respected nationally for his work with the National Trust and his keen interest in conservation and protecting the environment, died on Monday, at the age of 72. Laurence Michael Harvey Parsons, who succeeded his father as the sixth Earl in 1918 at the age of 12, had his Yorkshire home at Womersley Park. He was educated at Eton and Christchurch College, Oxford. His interest in nature, plants and trees in particular began in childhood and blossomed into a dedication to preserving the quality of life. In 1944, while serving with the Irish Guards, he became chairman of the National Trust's historic building committee. He became deputy chairman of the Trust in 1969 and served until 1975. He was also chairman of the standing commission on museums and galleries between 1956 and 1978. The Earl was also vice-chancellor, and later pro-chancellor of the University of Dublin. But with all his national commitments, he still had time to take a very keen interest in local societies and groups, dedicated to the preservation of our heritage and environment.

His wife, the Countess of Rosse, is vice-president of Pontefract Civic Trust, and the Earl was particularly interested in the Trust's work. Trust chairman, Mr Jack Johnson said: "All our members are very well aware of the great work he did in many diverse areas, we are all very distressed at his death. He will be sadly missed both as a conservationist and as a remarkable man."

He was also president of Pontefract and District Local History Society. The secretary, Mrs Mary Whitehead, paid tribute to his interest in local history.

''We were all very pleased to have him as our president. When you consider all the other more important committees he was involved with, it shows his great interest in local history,'' she said.

The Earl is survived by his mother, the Dowager Viscountess de Vesci, who lives at Womersley, and his wife, the Countess of Rosse. His elder son, Lord Oxmantown, succeeds him. His younger son, the Honourable Martin Parsons, lives at Womersley.

5TH JULY 1979
15 MEDAL HAUL FOR DISABLED KNOTTINGLEY WOMAN

A Knottingley Women who is confined to a wheelchair has just won 15 medals at disabled sports and is to represent Yorkshire at Stoke Manderville for the British Polio Fellowship. For many years she has been one of the chief organisers of Knottingley and District Physically Handicapped Club. Miss Christine Bugg, aged 31, of Richmond Avenue, Ferrybridge, has been disabled since the age of 15 months from polio, and a road accident, in which she was injured while in her wheelchair, as a young woman. Miss Bugg won five gold medals at the Humberside Disabled Sports Day for shot, throwing medicine balls, and throwing clubs, distance javelin and 60 metres wheelchair dash. At the same games she won a silver medal for the discus and a bronze for precision javelin. At the Yorkshire Regional Sports day for British Polio Fellowship, at Carnegie College, on Saturday, she gained another five gold medals in similar events to those at the Humberside sports, plus two more silver medals for discus and club, and a special medal for the most points in her group.

12TH JULY 1979
MOURNERS PAY LAST RESPECTS FOR EARL OF ROSSE

Mourners including Lord Snowden and the Duke of Norfolk, paid their last respects at Womersley Church on Friday to the Earl of Rosse. The funeral service was conducted by the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt. Rev. Colin W. James, and the Bishop of Limerick, the Rt. Rev. Edwin Owen. They were assisted by Canon R. Phillips, Vicar of Womersley. The ashes of the 72-year-old Earl, who died on Monday, July 5th, are to be scattered in Womersley Church. Among the many floral tributes were wreaths from the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. The bearers included the Earl's two sons, Lord Oxmantown and the Hon. D.O.M. Parsons.

19TH JULY 1979
PENSIONERS OFF TO FLORIDA

For years pensioners Randall and Sarah Walters have spent their summer holidays at Bridlington but this year they are going farther afield - to Florida, U.S.A, in fact - and it will hardly cost them a penny. For on August 31st, just five weeks after the couple celebrate their ruby wedding, they will fly by jet from Gatwick Airport to the warmth of America's sunshine state thanks to a jackpot bingo win by 65 year old Mrs Walters. Said Mr. Walters at their home in West Acres, Byram Park; "She's always been really lucky at the bingo, but this is the first time she's won anything like this." And although he confessed to ‘hating’ the game, the 70 year-old former paratrooper admitted: "It's absolutely fantastic. Can you imagine anything better than this happening at our age? Although I've been to India and China in my army days, I thought I'd missed my chance of getting to America. As for my wife, it will be the first time she's been abroad," he added.

Mrs Walters, a regular three times a week player, won the holiday of a lifetime prize at the E.M.I. organisation's Pontefract bingo hall. The eight day trip along with other lucky couples from area's throughout the north, includes visits to Disneyland, Daytona Beach, and the rocket launching site at Cape Canaveral, plus five star treatment at a top hotel in Orlando, a favourite Florida resort. But whatever the glamour of America, the Walters are still remaining faithful to their old British holiday spot- Bridlington. "By the time we knew we'd won the American trip, we'd already booked our summer holiday to Brid, so we're going there as well this year," said Mrs Walters. Reflecting on the perfect 40th wedding anniversary present, Mr. Walters, a former miner, said jokingly "She was worth marrying just for the bingo prize."

2ND AUGUST 1979
FACE LIFT FOR TOWN HALL

The 113-year-old Town Hall in Knottingley, which was threatened with closure about three years ago, may soon get a face-lift. A proposal to renew the stonework, window and window frames, and undertake pointing work, is to be considered at the September meeting of the volunteer body which runs it. Knottingley Town Hall Management Committee will then have completed the job of putting the premises into a sound state. A committee member and trustee, Mr. Roland Knapton, recalls how the hall, under Wakefield District Council, was threatened with closure, and says one of the reasons was that it was in a poor state of repair. Following a public meeting the volunteer body was elected to run the hall as a community centre and was granted a lease to do this for a year without losses. Since then it has had success after success. Raising funds by charging a small rental of 2.50 an hour to various organisations, dancing schools and bingo, and through organised dances, the committee has continued to pay its way. It has built a new fire escape, a new bar, and completely re-decorated the inside. At the moment it is building a kitchen. Also, it employs a part-time caretaker. "For general cleaning work the volunteers just rolled up their sleeves," says Mr. Knapton. "Our aim is to get the building absolutely A1 and then we can use the working capital another way - to keep down the charge for hiring it," he adds.

11TH OCTOBER 1979
'EXPRESS' DELIVERY TO MELBOURNE

If anybody was asked where the most avid and faithful readers of the Pontefract and Castleford Express lived, they might plump for anywhere in the district. Well they would probably be wrong, because they would be reckoning without a family in Melbourne, Australia, who have had the ‘Express’ sent to them by sea for 72 years. The family, Mr John Jackson, and his sisters, Mrs Hilda Wilcox and Mrs Alice Rose, are at present staying with cousins in Ferrybridge, which means that for a change they see the ‘Express’ on the day it is published, instead of about three months later. ''It takes that long to reach us because there aren't too many ships making the long trip to Australia and airmail is so expensive,'' said Mr Jackson, a former hotelkeeper in Geelong, Victoria.

The tradition was begun by Mr. Jackson's grandmother, Mrs Buckley, soon after his parents took the family to Australia in 1907, and has been continued by a succession of relatives ever since. It is now a cousin and another grandson of Mrs Buckley, Mr John Grice, of Tenters Close, Ferrybridge, who wraps up several copies of the ‘Express’ for the long journey to Australia. Mr. Jackson, now aged 79, was born in The Holes, Knottingley, and despite living more than 12,000 miles away, he and his father have both been mentioned in the ‘Express' on two occasions. The first was back in 1935 when they were Masters of the Masonic Lodge in Melbourne, and the second was when the same story appeared in the ‘Looking Back’ column 25 years later.

Mr. Jackson and his sisters have been in England since August 18th and have been staying with another cousin. Mrs Hilda Goddard, in Vale Crescent, Ferrybridge, and yet another cousin, Mr. Jack Green, nearby.

As reported in the Pontefract and Castleford Express 1979


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