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The Rushden Echo Friday 27th July 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins
Cultivating Waste Land

Prize Distribution at Rushden - To Ladies, Lads and Veterans – ‘Rushden Has Done its Bit’

A crowded meeting of the cultivators of the soil took place at the Institute, Rushden on Wednesday night, under the joint auspices of the Rushden Permanent Allotment and Small Holdings Society Ltd., and the Uncultivated Lands Committee of the Rushden Urban Council. Councillor John Spencer J.P. (chairman of the Urban Council) presided, supported by Councillors T. Swindall, J. Claridge, J.P., C.C., and J. S. Clipson, Messrs. G. S. Mason (clerk of the Council), W. Gutteridge (secretary of the Allotment Society), J. S. Mason, L. Baxter, J. Hornsby, H. Smith, C. W. Horrell, G. Selwood, F. J. Sharwood, S. Saddler, ..., B. Madin (town surveyor), ......(sanitary inspector, and many others. The purpose of the gathering was the presentation of prizes to the cultivators of the waste lands (a list of the winners appeared in a recent issue of the “Rushden Echo”); to the members of the Allotment Society, and to the schoolboys who tilled the school gardens.

Before the distribution of the prizes, Mr. John Spencer gave a short address, in which he stated how pleased they were to see such a large gathering that night, and said it was very gratifying to see such keen interest taken in the land at Rushden. It was a source of pleasure to the Uncultivated Lands Committee to see the large amount of labour put into land which previously lay waste. The one-time uncultivated plot had been transformed into highly cultivated land, and the crops looked magnificent. The Urban Council had been assisted in every way by the Allotment Society and by other gentlemen. They were indebted to the gentlemen who had given the prizes. A national scheme and Rushden had done its bit in this emergency. The great idea was to get as much food produced as possible so as to provide sufficient food for their needs and they had not only helped themselves but had assisted the nation at the same time. About 14 acres of hitherto waste land had been brought under cultivation, and he (Mr. Spencer) hoped this was only the beginning, and that such good work might be extended.

Council John Spencer handed the prizes to the various winners, who were applauded, more especially the three lady prize-winners and the lads and elderly gentlemen who received the prizes.

The donors of prizes were as follow: Mr. Geo. Selwood £10, Mr. C. W. Horrell £5, Mr. F. Sharwood £1.10s., Mr. J. Claridge £1, Mr. J. Hornsby 5s., which, with other funds, made a total of £27. 10s.

Mr. Tom Swindall proposed a vote of thanks to the donors, which Mr. L. Baxter seconded. Mr. Geo. Selwood (who originated the idea of the prizes) replied.

Mr. Swindall said that the produce of the allotments this year constituted a record.

Mr. L. Baxter complimented the lads of Alfred-street, North-end, and Newton-road schools on the splendid crops they had grown.

At the half-yearly business meeting of the Allmotment Society, Mr. Swindall presiding, 14 new members were admitted. The prizes provided by Mr. A. H. Sartoris, Mr. Swindall and the Association were presented to the winners by the Chairman. Votes of thanks were passed to Mr. Sartoris and Mr. Swindall.

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