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Rushden Echo, 7th December 1928
Mr Abraham Gadsby’s 85th Birthday
Rushden Veteran’s Useful Career

“Life is still very sweet to me today”, said Mr Abraham Gadsby, of Rushden, to a Rushden Echo representative who called to offer him greetings on his 85th birthday, which was on Wednesday.

Our representative found the veteran at work in his garden in the last hour of daylight, looking happy and even sprightly for one of such great age.

“I was one of the most mischievous boys” he said, laughing heartily at the antics he performed and the “hidings” he got for his trouble, adding “I don’t think they cured me!” Mr Gadsby said he was at work when he was seven years of age. As a young man he had worked from 4a.m. on some days and on other occasions had done overtime until 10p.m. “Had I not taken care of what I earned”, he said, “I should not now be in the position I am”. His first duties were tending sheep, helping with the harvest and leading horses with the plough, of which his father had charge. Mr Gadsby left farm work in his youth, and went into the employment of the late Mr Thomas Sanders, currier of Higham Ferrers, and at that class of work he kept on for the rest of his active life. After he was married  – at the age of 22 – he  was apprenticed to Mr Wilby, currier, at 13s a week and staying five years, he learned his trade. He was next employed by Mr G Denton, of Rushden, at whose currying works he stayed for 16½ years, and then he did 19½ years at the firm of Messrs Cunnington Bros., Crabb-street, Rushden.

The third son of Barnabas Gadsby and a grandson of Peter Gadsby, natives of Higham Ferrers, Mr A. Gadsby also was born at Higham Ferrers. Both father and grandfather were Wesleyans, as Mr. A Gadsby has been all his life. Barnabas Gadsby was a Wesleyan class leader.  Owing to his having to work on Sundays, he was not able to take on other offices, which he would gladly have done. So fond of Sunday School was young Abraham that he went one Sunday when he had been told he had measles and must not go! To console him in his tears when sending him out, the teacher gave him 6d. He still recalls the pleasure that gave him! Mr Gadsby has been associated with the Wesleyan cause at Rushden since the “old chapel”, now the Park-road Wesleyan Schools were built. He was a class leader for many years and has been a superintendent for over 25 years on the active list, now holding the position of hon. life superintendent in the school.

Walking 15 miles and back on a Sunday was by no means uncommon for Mr Gadsby when, as a young man, he was a Wesleyan exhorter and a local preacher. He has gone as far away as Old Weston and Catworth, rising at six o’clock and walking back after preaching at two services. He had not been at the work long when he was asked to go to preach at Wymington for the Independent Wesleyans, before the present chapel there was built. When he got to the cottage in which the services were held he said to the old people, “I don’t like to preach here in the evening, when only this morning you had Mr Bromage, your ‘super’ here”. The kindly old folk reassured the young man, telling him that “if they had beef and plum pudding, they also liked bread and cheese!” Mr Gadsby said he still holds a position of trustee in regard to two houses at Wymington which belong to the chapel there and which he was asked to take many years ago.

To the public of Rushden Mr Gadsby is probably best known as having served on the Wellingborough Board of Guardians. He did 28 years of such work and was very fond of it. He still keeps up his interest in the Poor Law Institution, which he visits occasionally. Though he does not attend political meetings, Mr Gadsby is a member of the Rushden Liberal Association.

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