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Benefit Funds
When illness prevented people from earning their living, their friends would
sometimes organise an event to enable them to donate funds to the family.

Rushden Argus, 23rd January 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

BENEFIT FUND—The final meeting of the committee of the Wm. Bridgeford Benefit Fund was held on Monday last at the Athletic Club, when it was reported that after paying all expenses there was a net result of £22 6s. 7d. to be handed over to Mr. Bridgeford. Part of this sum has been paid to Mr. Bridgeford, and the balance was left in the hands of Mr. J. Claridge and Mr. J. K. Skinner (chairman and treasurer) to be paid over as required. [obituary]

Rushden Argus, 3rd April 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

Benefit Concert - Aiding a Deserving Case at Rushden

A benefit concert for Mr. George Bland, of Rushden, was held at the Trades Club, Rushden, on Monday evening. In the unavoidable absence of Mr. C. Bates, Mr. Frank Clarke presided over a large attendance.

The capital programme was as follows:- Pianoforte solo, Miss Elsie Pack (Higham Ferrers); songs, "Jolly old cavalier," "Nirvana;" and "Bandolero," Mrs. B. White; songs, "The night watchman" and parody of "Thora," by Rolando; song, "Let's all go into the ballroom," Mr. S. Wheatley; songs, "Eileen Alannah" and "Ora Pro Nobis," Miss Vera Clark; songs, "If I could only make you care" and "Your, world is my world," Miss Bertha Knight; violin solo,. ''The last rose of summer" (with variations), Mr. W. Pack; song and dance, "If we had to do without a girl," Miss Lily Kingham; songs, "Mary" and "O mother mine," Mr. W, Smith; song, "A parson and a man," "The cabman’s story," and "Those songs my mother used to sing"; songs, " Bayen" and "The cobbler" (with bone accompaniment); song and dance, "A ride across the prairie" Mr. W. Kingham.

The Chairman said he was pleased to see such a large audience present, but it by no means represented the number of people who had so generously responded to the appeal for assistance for a fellow club member who was suffering a long and severe illness, depriving him of the privilege of working for those were dependent upon him for maintenance.

At the interval the Chairman announced the result of the efforts of the committee who had organised the concert. The donations were as follow:— Rushden Windmill Club, 10s. 6d.; Band Club, 10s. 6d.: Working Men's Club, 5s., Athletic Club, 5s.; from sale of tickets, £12 0s. 3d.; total donations, £13 11s. 3d. On behalf of Mr. G. Bland and his family and the management committee of the club, the chairman sincerely thanked all who had contributed to such a splendid result. They could go away with the satisfaction of having done something to cheer the hearts and minds of Mr. Bland and his family through the knowledge that they were not forgotten in their time of grievous trouble and suffering.

Rushden Argus, 29th May 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Poular Footballer – Former Rushden Player’s Handsome Benefit

Freddy CrootMr. F. Croot, of Windmill-road, Rushden, a prominent member of the Leeds City F.C., is now spending the summer with his parents at Rushden. Mr. Croot recently received the proceed's of a benefit match, Leeds City T. Woolwich Asenal, which realised the handsome sum of £430.

Rushden Swifts was the first club to claim Croot's services, at the age of 15 years. He operated at full back, and the following season was captured by the Town Club, with whom he played half-back for a couple of months before finding his true position at outside left. During the first season the team carried off the Northamptonshire Senior League, and "Freddy," along with his partner, Penrid (who eventually captained Northampton Town), had a great deal to do with the winning of the championship.

Before the end of the season Croot attracted the attention of the Villa, with whom he played a trial game. They were anxious to "sign him," but as he was only sixteen years of age. His parents declined to permit him to leave his native heath. As a result Croot joined Wellngborough. Thus, before he was seventeen years old, he was playing in the Southern League, and must surely have been its youngest member. Towards the end of the season the club was in such sore straits financially that the directors allowed the players to run the dub and share the "gates" among themselves—a novel way out of a difficulty. Croot had quite a shoal of offers for his services, and eventually he decided to go to Sheffield United. Aston Villa took objection, and as a result ''Freddy" had to appear before the Management Committee of the League before he was able to wear the colours of the United. At Sheffield he appeared at inside left, and was a prolific scorer with the reserves, helping them, to win the Midland League and the Wharncliffe Charity Cup.

Croot decided to migrate to a club where he would have a chance of playing in the English League team, and so in May, 1907, he became a Leeds "Citizen," and they considered themselves fortunate to secure his signature.

Since that time he has remained loyal to Leeds City, despite many tempting offers, and his great ambition at the present time is to see Leeds City in the First Division of the League During his stay in Leeds Croot has regularly filled the outside left position, and until the latter part of last year was never displaced by any other man. He has never been a great scorer, which is not altogether remarkable, as his mission has been to give others the opportunity of netting the ball. That he can shoot, however, various goalkeepers will readily acknowledge, and to repel a penalty kick taken by "Freddy" is an item in a custodian's career.

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