THE FOOTBALL RELIEF COMMITTEE'S REPORT
The report below was read at the meeting held last week, by the HON. SECRETARY, MR. GEORGE OGLETHORPE, and we give it to the public with this one word of comment: It is a report that does credit to both the head and heart of whoever penned it. We trust its publication will do the club some good.
HON. SECRETARY's REPORT
Gentlemen, - The Committee, representative of the football clubs of the town, which you appointed some time ago to consider and carry out the best means of raising funds for the relief of the survivors in the lamentable occurrence at St. Helen's has now concluded its labours, more from necessity than choice, but in the opinion of its promoters, with astonishing results. When the scheme was first mooted, it was thought that if the footballers could raise about L10 to hand over to the General Fund, what a help it would be to the survivors and what a credit to themselves.
By scanning the balance sheet which lies before you, you will notice that instead of handing over L10 odd, we have realised L112 odd, and have, through our circular, been the means of securing about L30 more which has gone direct to the fund.
I myself should have liked all football donations to have been handed to MR. BIRKETT and so swelled our list, but in the balance sheet to be issued by MR. WARWICK, all football subscriptions will be together, and, gentlemen, when that balance sheet does appear, no person, however great may be their antipathy to football, the noblest of our many noble English games, can say that Cumberland footballers have been found wanting in the hour of need.
But the credit lies not with Cumberland alone. Both Yorkshire and Lancashire came forward in response to our appeal with the result that the sum of L31 18s. has been subscribed by these counties. It is a matter of surprise to the committee that the colliery districts of Northumberland, Durham, and Lancashire, from whom the greatest amount of practical sympathy might have been expected, have not moved in the matter. Perhaps their local needs may account for this. To those clubs who did subscribe, our best thanks are due, but to none more than Preston North End. We cannot be sufficiently thankful to MR. SUDELL and his gallant team for their free services which were the means of securing to the fund about L60.
Although numerous schemes have, with financial success, been worked out for the same object, yet I believe our L65 on May 2nd to be the "record" for Cumberland. I can only say and I trust that I speak for all interested in the movement that in the future, Preston North End, will have no sincerer well-wishers than the townsfolk of Workington. We admire them not only for their prowess on the football field, but also for coming here and doing so generous an action, and I think that we can pay no better tribute to them than to say: That they are an honour to the football community.
The Canonbie A.F.C. also offered to come and play a match, but we were obliged, much to our regret, to forego the pleasure of receiving them. Nevertheless we are none the less obliged to them for their kindness. We also regret that no first class Rugby team could be induced to pay us a visit in the Park, but it must be borne in mind that though the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak at last, according to their answers.
Well, we can understand what it would be like to play football in May especially Rugby, but this I can confidently say, that the same excuse would not have been made by Workington players. The Blackburn Rovers and Scotch Crusaders also deserve our thanks, but in a lesser degree, as they received payment for their services and I believe the match they played at Whitehaven only realised expenses, although the gate was L52. But remember we had nothingn to do with that. We cannot pass over the visits of these notable teams without remarking that they should give a great impetus to Cumberland football. It has been remarked that the only Cumberland clubs of note who have done nothing for the cause are those of Carlisle, and I believe Millom - our leading clubs - while a club whose existence is scarcely known outside its own district has, I believe given six gineas to the fund (I quote from memory). I refer to Cleator Moor. Although our efforts have been so successful, they would have been more so had the season not been so far advanced.
But we must not grumble, we have done very well, and MR. GRAHAM paid us a nice compliment when he said that it was a very creditable action with very creditable results. Well, we shall pass over the action, but we can all agree as to the creditable results. But like many other successful performances a very regretable incident is connected with it, but for which we should not have been here.
The incident - or rather accident -- was the explosion. However proud we may be of the result of our labours - and I will not deny but that we do feel proud - I am sure that we all deeply regret the cause of them, and no section of the community, however humble or exalted, feels more deeply and sympathises more heartily with the widows and orphans of the poor men who died in that pit, than the footballers. I think, gentlemen, that we have shown to the public that although sometimes very partial and selfish on the football field, we can still feel for others, and show our feelings in a more practical manner than mere sympathetic expressions.
We are, I hope, all satisfied, but we would have been more satisfied had no occasion arisen to need our sympathy however practical. But God's ways are not our ways, and with the hope that every one of those poor miners have gone to the better land, is also mingled another, ,that no harm may ever befall those who are left behind, and that when their time also comes, they may join their lost ones in that bourn from whence no traveller returns. As MR. KNOWLES said, occasions like these (referring to the explosion) demonstrate more clearly than anything else the fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man.
A very gratifying feature of the balance sheet is L6 0s. 8d. for expenses. We have been very careful, and nothing but important items has been entered, and I think no one can say that we have squandered the money. It would have amounted to much more had not MR. DUFFIELD and the Workington Association Football Club paid for the dinner - MR. D. L2 and W.A.F.C. L2 5s. I think I have about exhausted all the subjects, but I must not close without thanking everybody who in any way however trivial helped us in our charitable work. But before concluding, I should like to make one suggestion which I trust will not be allowed to drop: Now that we have seen what footballers can do in the way of charity, could not the football clubs also have an Annual Hospital Saturday.
Gentlemen, we depend on the public for our support, and I think we should in some way repay them; and how can we better do it than by providing for our suffering brethren. We, none of us know how soon we may want assistance - I trust never - but still the time may come, and then you may feel thankful that you gave your mite to the Hospital Fund. I hope the Workington committee will take the matter up. Some croakers may say "Oh, but we can't afford it, we may be in debt at the end of the year." Well, so you may be, to return again to the region of sentimentalism "Cast thy bread upon the waters and thou shalt find it after many days."
Besides, if the public knew that you intended to do some good action during the season, you would receive more support. I shall now close with the wish that we may never have to start a fund again for the same object, but I am sure that if the occasion does arise, we will again show that we can hold our own with the richest and most philanthropic classes of society. [ applause ].