Though not unexpected, after the seizure he experienced on January 26th, the news that Alderman Sanders, of Higham Ferrers, passed away on Sunday morning will be received with widespread regret. It will be remembered that about eight o'clock on the morning of the day named Mr. Sanders had a stroke whilst at home, and during the weeks that have elapsed has been lying in a helpless and semi-conscious condition. Everything had been done for him by Dr. Crew and a trained nurse, but from the first there was little hope of his recovery, though his strong constitution at times appeared to be combating the weakness. However, on Saturday morning last internal haemorrhage set in, and the aged alderman passed peacefully away at 2.30 on Sunday morning in the presence of his two daughters and granddaughter.
Alderman Sanders was born in the High-street, Higham Ferrers, on November 9th, 1825, being the son of the late Mr. W. Sanders, currier. As a young man he started business as a currier for himself in Spring-gardens, gradually building up a substantial business till at one time he employed some 160 workpeople. He also took over his father's business, continuing the "top shop" in High-street and also adding the extensive premises at the Rushden end of the town. One of his colleagues on the Town Council said then that "his business qualifications were such that he had climbed from the bottom of the ladder to pretty nearly the top, and become a gentleman of affluence and influence in the borough," and it is undoubted that the townspeople as a whole were proud of him as a link "between William IV. and Edward VII."
He took a keen interest in the public life of the borough, and when the town was reincorporated eighteen years ago offered an uncompromising resistance to the project, mainly on the ground of the increased expense that would be entailed in the upkeep of the roads. However, when the County Council took over the control of the roads this objection was removed, and thirteen years ago he allowed himself to be elected a councillor. In 1897, the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, he was chosen mayor, and a portrait of him in the Court dress worn at the time of the celebration now adorns the Council chamber. The honour was repeated in 1902-3, when he was again chosen mayor, the opening of the New Wesleyan Chapel being one of the public events of the year. He had been an alderman for the past half-dozen years.
But the connection of which Mr. Sanders himself took the greatest interest and pride was his connection with the Wesleyan Church and Sunday School of his native town. He entered the school at five years of age and in October last celebrated the completion of 74 years connection with the school by presenting each of the scholars and teachers with a copy of the new Wesleyan Hymnbook. In 1902 he claimed to have attended 71 anniversaries of the Sunday School, and in February of that year he received a diploma from the Sunday School Union for 58 years' service in the school as teacher and superintendent. He was connected with the church for a great number of years and filled various important offices in the church and circuit. He took a deep and generous interest in the new church, and all felt it was in the natural fitness of things that he should be Mayor at the time of the opening ceremony, in November last, a large portrait of their beloved superintendent was presented to the school and hung in a place of honour.
Mr. Sanders was a widower at the time of his death, Mrs. Sanders having passed away on March 25th of last year, in the 79th year of her age, after six months' illness. He left behind two daughters, Mrs. George Parsons, of Irthlingborough, Miss Sanders, who resided with him, a grand-daughter, Miss Allen, also having resided with him for some time.
Naturally the event has caused great regret in Higham, and also sympathy with the bereaved relatives. At the Wesleyan Church on Sunday, the Rev. John Archer of Ampthill, who was superintendent of the circuit over 30 years ago, was the preacher, and at the morning service prayed with deep sympathy for those who had been bereaved. At the evening service he paid a short but feeling tribute to the departed, At Parish Church in the evening, the Rev. J. Dun, R.D., said that he could not begin his sermon without expressing regret at the loss sustained by the town. They had lost one of the best neighbours, who had filled such a position that the gap left would be difficult to fill. He had left a noble example in his life, and had always been ready to help those in need, irrespective of creed.