The Shirley Village Archive

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - 7 October 1910 (Document)

CONCERT AND PRESENTATION AT SHIRLEY.
A most successful concert was given in the school, on September 29th. The room was crowded and, and many of the audience had to remain standing the whole time. The concert had been organised by the schoolmaster, Mr. A. Y. Jordan, to help in defraying the expenses connected with recent alterations and additions to the school, and the programme was for the most part carried out by the scholars. Owing to the impending departure of Mr. Jordan from Shirley, the concert had been given at an earlier date than had been at first intended, and only a very short time had been available to train the children in their various parts. Nevertheless, the songs, dialogues and recitations were, without exception, well rendered, some of the items given by the tiny performers of the infant classes being particularly pleasing. The performance of “Beauty and the Beast” was capitally carried out, and the “Nigger Troupe,” with their songs and jokes, were accorded a most enthusiastic reception. In the second half of the programme, the comic songs, in character, given by Mr. Chesire, and a song and monologue by Mr. Fairclough, were vociferously applauded. The last item on the programme was a farce, “Dr. Diaculam,” which created roars of laughter.
    During the interval the Vicar (Rev. C. H. Owen), announced that he had been requested by the school managers to say a few words concerning the departure of the headmaster, Mr. Jordan, who was leaving Shirley to take up an appointment as headmaster of a larger school at Middleton-on-the-Wolds, in Yorkshire. He (Mr. Owen) felt sure that he voiced the feeling of the whole parish in saying how much he regretted Mr. Jordan's leaving Shirley, and spoke of the many ways in which his help and influence would be missed, not only in connection with school and church work, but also in social affairs in this and the neighbouring parishes. Mr. Owen then read a letter from Mr. W. K. Shirley, one of the school managers, who wrote as follows:— “Dear Mr. Owen,— I am very sorry that an engagement in Hampshire which I cannot move prevents my being at the concert on the 29th, and thanking Mr. Jordan in person, as I should like to do, for all he has done, and telling him how sorry I am to lose him, as I know we all are. He has always given time and trouble out of his scanty leisure, in the ungrudging spirit which seems not to feel that it is giving up anything. But one wants to thank him, too, for being what he is, and for having in countless quiet, unobtrusive ways, raised our standard for us of what we all ought to be. Though I feel these things I don't know how to say them, and perhaps it is just as well that I should not try, that you should say them for all of us.”— After reading the letter, Mr. Owen remarked that he could add nothing more to this, as they were the words of one who was a scholar of Winchester College, and who took classical honours at Oxford, and therefore not words carelessly chosen, but singularly apt and intriguing. The vicar then went on to say that the managers felt they could not let Mr. Jordan leave Shirley without giving him some token of their appreciation, and they asked his acceptance of a pair of silver candlesticks and a silver cigarette case. In presenting the latter, Mr. Owen humorously remarked that he believed Mr. Jordan somewhat resembled the late Mark Twain in his fondness for cigarette smoking, and he added that he noted other points of similarity between the two men, both being full of brain, full of humour and full of geniality.
    Mr. William Wheeldon heartily endorsed all that Mr. Owen had said, and stated that during the whole time Mr. Jordan had been headmaster at Shirley, there had not been the slightest friction with the managers, and not a single complaint from any of the parents, while excellent reports had always been received from the inspectors. He added that had Mr. Jordan's departure not taken place at such an unfortunate time he felt sure that the presentation would have taken the more substantial form of a purse of money, but as the parish had so recently been canvassed from end to end in aid of the school fund, it was not an opportune moment for making a further general collection, and therefore the managers and a few friends had taken it upon themselves to offer this small proof of their appreciation. In conclusion, he wished Mr. and Mrs. Jordan all success in their new home.
    Miss Millward, one off the teachers, then presented Mr. Jordan with an inkstand, on behalf of the teachers and scholars, wishing him every success and happiness.
    Mr. Jordan, in returning thanks, modestly disclaimed all praise for anything he had done during his residence in Shirley, and said that though he had often failed at what he aimed at, yet he had at least worked with good intentions, and he was glad to find that his efforts had been appreciated. He assured them he did not need any tangible gift to remind him of Shirley, where he had made many kind friends, and that the three and a half years he had spent there had been one of the happiest periods of his life. The presentation had taken him completely by surprise, and he could not possibly express all he felt, but he asked them to believe that he did most earnestly thank them for all their great kindness, and hoped that they would rally round his successor in the same hearty way which they had been such a help to himself.
    Mr. Jordan's speech was received with loud applause, and the audience heartily joined in singing, “For he's a jolly good fellow.”
    At the close of the concert Mr. Jordan briefly thanked the audience for their attention during such a lengthy programme. He also wished to express his sincerest thanks to all who had help in any way; to those who had lent costumes or goods; to the teachers and Mrs. F. Goodall for help in dressing the children etc.; to Messrs. Cheshire, Fairclough, Gillman, Kimble and Williamston for their contributions to the programme; to Mr. Tully for plants; and to Mr. Rushton, who very kindly provided cakes for the children before going home. The proceedings closed with the National Anthem.
    In connection with Mr. Jordan's departure, it may be added here that in his capacity as organist of the parish church his loss will be also much felt. He is a musician of exceptional ability, having earned the right to use the letters A.T.S.C., Lond., after his name, and though the simple form of service in use at the village church has by no means afforded full scope for his talent, yet he has given the congregation ample opportunity of realising something off the character of true music. Mr. Jordan's ever ready help at all social functions held at the school will also be much missed.

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