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Rushden Echo, 4th August 1916, transcribed by Kay Collins
Alfred Street School
Presentation to the Dunkley Brothers

The Dunkley Children
The Dunkleys in 1916
From The Argus Newspaper
An Interesting Presentation was made at the Alfred-street schools on Tuesday to signalize the record attendance of two scholars—William Thomas Dunkley and Henry Arthur Dunkley (brothers) of Victoria-road. During the last eight years these boys have made an absolutely perfect attendance, a record which is probably unique in Rushden, if not in the whole country. The managers of the Council Schools at Rushden, who were not unmindful of this magnificent record, resolved that they would reward the two scholars, apart from what the County Committee might do, and they generously subscribed among themselves and purchased two standard works on horticulture, the books being selected by the boys themselves. It was to present these books that the school was assembled, and that the Managers attended to make the ceremony complete. Mr. J. T. Colson presided, supported by Mr. John Claridge, Mr. E. Freeman, Mr. B. Vorley, and Mr. W. Chettle. The assembled scholars rendered a sequence of song, after which Mr. Colson explained the circumstances under which they were met together. He spoke of the great effort which must have been made, not only by the boys themselves, but also by their parents, in order to ensure this excellent result, and he complimented the boys on the choice of books they had made. Mr. Claridge also spoke, and then presented a book to each of the two lads, heartily congratulating them on their achievement. Mr. Vorley, Mr. Freeman, and Mr. Chettle also spoke, urging the whole of the children to further efforts in the cause of education. The singing of the national anthems of the Allies completed a very enjoyable function.

Rushden Echo, Friday May 17th 1918, transcribed by Susan Manton

Presentation of Medals

The long delayed advent of the attendance awards for the year 1916-17 having arrived, Mr. J. T. Colson and Mr. John Claridge attended the Alfred Street School on Wednesday to make the presentation to the winners of the medals. After an interesting and instructive address by Mr. Colson, the medals were presented by Mr. Claridge, who spoke words of encouragement to the children assembled. The following were the recipients.

White medals (two years perfect attendance): Elsie Drage, Elsie Holmes, Ada Parker, Beatrice Scroxton, Dennis Okins, Willie Scholes, Richard Wilmott.

Gilt medal (three years): Fred Drage.

Bronze medal (four years): Grace Norris.

Silver medal (five years) Robert Hollis, Frank Norris, Herbert Packwood.

Silver bar (six years) Arnold Geo. Harbour.

Silver bar (nine years) Henry Dunkley. This makes the fourth silver bar received by Henry Dunkley. He is moreover entitled to receive another bar for the year 1917-18 having completed a record ten years perfect attendance. It is hoped that something of a more substantial award will be made to commemorate this achievement.

Rushden Echo, 17th October 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins

Pleasing Present at Rushden – Ten Years’ Perfect School Attendance – Remarkable Record
An interesting ceremony took place at the Alfred-street Council School yesterday week when a wristlet watch (guaranteed for ten years) was presented by the Council School Managers to Henry Dunkley (son of Mr and Mrs W P Dunkley, of Victoria-road, Rushden), in recognition of his remarkable record in school attendance. For ten years—starting when he was three years of age—he was never once absent, and never late. The scholars gathered at 3.30 in the assembly hall, and the seniors sang a folk song “Young May Moon” and the patriotic song “Land of Hope and Glory.” Mr J T Colson (chairman of the Rushden Education Sub-Committee) presided, supported by Messrs John Claridge, J.P., C.C., B Vorley, F Green, and C Cross, C.C. (members of the Sub-Committee).

Mr W W Rial (headmaster) said that last year the attendance was not so good as usual, as there were only four perfect attendance medals awarded. War conditions had something to do with this, and sickness was partly responsible, but there had grown up a general carelessness about school attendance during the last two or three years of the war. An improvement was now noticeable. During the present week every girl but one had attended at least part of the week, and only four boys had failed to put in an appearance, so that out of 340 scholars only five had not been seen during the week. Alluding to Henry Dunkley, who had left the school during the past year, Mr Rial said he came to the school when only three years of age and left when he was over 13 years old, having never once been absent or late. When Dunkley was in his eighth year he was troubled one day with his eyes, which were bandaged up, but his mother led him to school and told the teacher that if the boy’s eyes were bad so that he could not read or write, he could listen to what was said. Such a record attendance was not made without some sacrifice.

Mr Colson said this was a unique occasion. The wonderful attendance of Henry Dunkley was something worthy of being recorded. His parents must have taken a keen interest in his schooling and assisted him in his effort to be present every time the school was opened; his health had been good so that he could attend in all weathers; and he must have been happy in his school life.

Mr Claridge, as a member of the County Education Committee assured the boys and girls that they would never regret having attended school regularly and having paid attention to their teachers. It was a great advantage to have such a school as that, and he hoped the school would appreciate it.

Medals were then presented by Mr Claridge to the following: Jessie Tuffrey, two years’ perfect attendance; Bert Bailey, three years’ perfect attendance; and Arthur Harris (formerly of Irthlingborough), five years’ perfect attendance. A silver bar to medal was handed to Grace Morris for six years’ perfect attendance. Mr Rial explained that in the case of Jessie Tuffrey, the girl remained at school, she reaching the age at which she could leave, in order to secure the medal. Mr Rial also paid a tribute Grace Morris’s aunt who had made sacrifices in order that the girl should attend school regularly.

In presenting the watch to Henry Dunkley, Mr Claridge said the attendance was a record for Rushden and the county. He congratulated the recipient most sincerely on his wonderful record. The School Managers in the past had presented him with books—books which he had chosen himself, showing he was of a studious nature. His mother must have made great sacrifices to get him to school every day for ten years. It also spoke well for the teachers, and the boy must have been interested in what he was taught.

Mr Vorley, quoting the proverb “No gains without pains,” said that both Mrs Dunkley and her son must have taken great pains to accomplish such a unique record. Mrs Dunkley had a large shelf on which were over 30 first prizes received by her children from the Sunday school.

Mr Green also complimented the boy on his record, and hearty cheers were given for Dunkley and for the School Managers.

The Dunkleys
The Three Dunkleys
Rushden Echo, 17th October 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins

In our issue of October 24th 1913, we had pleasure in publishing this portrait and reporting that three of the children of Mr and Mrs W P Dunkley, of Victoria-road, Rushden, viz: Willie, Winifred Mary, and Henry Arthur, each secured a medal for five years’ perfect attendance at school. Prior to this, each of the children had received medals for two, three, and four years; perfect attendance. Later we had the pleasure of reporting that each of the three had completed six years’ perfect attendance. This in itself is a remarkable record, but it is still more remarkable that Henry Arthur has never missed a day from school since he started at the early age of three years. He has now completed ten years’ perfect attendance at Alfred-street school, having never once been absent or late, and he has received four medals and five bars. His brother Willie made eight years’ perfect attendance before leaving school and received four medals and three bars, and Winfred completed five years’ perfect attendance, receiving four medals. It should be explained that no medal is granted for one years' attendance, the first medal being for two years’ attendance. Yesterday week Henry Arthur was presented by the Rushden Council School Managers with a wristlet watch in recognition of the wonderful record. The three children of Mr and Mrs W P Dunkley, with one older child, were scholars in the Queen-street Independent Wesleyan School, and it is a remarkable fact that in all they gained 34 first prizes in the Sunday school. We believe that the record of the Dunkleys cannot be beaten throughout England.

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