You may have gathered that I have a very large extended family, particularly on my mother’s side. She was one of nine children, most of whom married and multiplied, and as the members of my generation are now grandparents and great-grandparents, I have many relatives that I don’t know, have never heard of, or have never met. Luckily, despite all the rude things people say about social media, it does have some advantages. Through a couple of sites, I have made contact with cousins and children of cousins, allowing me little peeps into their lives and giving them glimpses of mine.
Do I have the right to be proud of the achievements of my cousins’ children? I don’t see why not, and thanks to Facebook I have been able to follow a particularly admirable and amazing feat by my cousin’s daughter.
Brave, beautiful Rachel works at a Sheffield Teaching Hospital. Last year she did a sky dive and now she has just performed a wing walk to raise money towards a primary helipad at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital. What an experience! And she has exceeded her target of £1,000 – well done! The fact that she has actually done her wing walk – and there are photos and videos to prove it – is no reason for anyone to delay donating to this good cause, so since blood is thicker than water, I’m giving her a plug here too.
When I told my mother about this and showed her the video on Faccebook (“Look what your brother Jack’s granddaughter has done!”) she was most impressed. Then she commented on how organised fundraising has become nowadays.
“When we were kids, there was nothing like that,” she said, “My friends Eileen Saxton, Mary Mason, Bertha Bird, Florrie Rogers* and I put on little concerts in our back yard for the neighbours, and charged everyone a penny to come and watch. I don’t know if we were any good with our singing and dancing and reciting, but we managed to raise about ten shillings.”
There were 20 shillings in a pound sterling so ten shillings was 50p in decimal coinage. Inflation has taken its toll, but as a comparison for purchasing power, in 1925 a pint of beer cost about 5d, the modern equivalent of about 75p so their ten shillings were equivalent to about £25.
“There was a cartoon cat called Gloops in the local paper, and most children belonged to the Gloops Club which was run by a person called Auntie Edith. It used to organise events to raise support for children’s charities, so we decided to donate our money to that, and to hand it over to Gloops and Auntie Edith in person. That was an adventure, for we didn’t often go into town. Off we went on the tramcar, right into the centre of the city, and marched excitedly up to the offices of the Sheffield Star. We said who we were and why we had come, and asked to see Auntie Edith and Gloops. “
Sadly, the eager little lasses met with a rather cool reception. The clerk at the desk simply said, “Thank you. I’ll pass it on. Goodbye,” and that was that.
My mother wonders if modern-day staff might have been kinder to a gaggle of shy little girls who had given their time and talents to do some fund-raising for children in need. This particular little group felt very rebuffed, and returned home extremely disappointed and crestfallen.
“We left the Gloops Club after that, “ concluded my mother.
“Did you stop doing your concerts?” I asked.
“Oh no, the concerts were a lot of fun. But we decided to keep the pennies and gave them to our mothers instead! That was a good cause, and after all, charity begins at home!”
*I include the names just in case any descendants of these girls happens to read this! Sheffield Handsworth lasses, one and all.