The Charity Worker - My Mom

Alice Hyde, my Mom, was a tireless worker for good causes. And she supported her husband - my Dad - in all his efforts for family, business and for others.

Dad joined the Harborne Village Social Club that had its original premises in an old Coach garage on the High St, more or less where Boots the chemist premises are today. Dad was very active in The Club (as it was reffered to) and he was President for over 25 years. All of the time Mom & Dad were involved with the club Mom sold raffle tickets, helped organise things and generally got involved.

In 1972 I became the (youngest ever) Entertainment Secretary at the club - I booked the acts, singers, dance bands etc - and I resurrected the clubs Charity events for local Harborne charities. Mom immediately adopted these causes and put herself out selling tickets, persuading people to get involved and organising prizes for said raffles from local businesses. Over the years Mom was directly responsible for raising many £1000's for such good causes as the Childrens Cancer Ward at Birmingham Childrens Hospital, Acorns Hospice (for Children), St Joesphs - Little Sisters of the Poor - Care Home plus the Blind, Deaf and Disabled.

The photo was taken by Birmingham Evening Mail at the club at one of the Charity events circa 1974 - presenting a cheque to the Little Sisters of the Poor

Mom could often been seen scurrying around the club with a beer tray in hand on which lay the raffle, christmas draw or special event tickets and the money she was collecting. Mom used to ballroom dance (with Dad) but many was the time she was around the rooms of the club wheedling money out of the members and visitors alike rather than enjoying the music and the dance with Dad.

And in Wales

In the late 1970's when it was becoming more probably that the Fairbourne railway might close there was a plan for a buy out and formation of a "Friends of" organisation to own and run it......and Mom & Dad were there promising to help as much as they could. It was around that time that consideration was given to moving lock, stock & barrell to Wales. And, although not charity, Mom was a volunteer worker on the Fairbourne Railway, "manning" the mobile canteen that was taken to the Ferry terminus most days. Mom staffed it at weekends she & Dad were in Fairbourne, because dad was not keen on driving on the over busy weekend country roads.

After that idea passed and that railway changed hands (unfavourably as far as this family were concerned), I and Dad moved onto the Bala Lake Railway where I became a steam loco driver and Dad did odd jobs. Initially Mom sat in the car in the yard but soon got fed up of that and made friends with people and discovered that there was a need to raise lots of money to finish paying for a boiler repair on one of the locos. Mom suggested she could run/look after a stall on the platform selling second hand books, magazines and small objects/gifts. And so it came to pass that I and others obtained old railway magazines, books etc for Mom to sell and she sat on the platform, under the canopy, behind a table loaded down with this stuff raising money for Holy War.

Mom behind her stall on the platform at Bala Lake Railway HQ (Dad in his work clothes) circa 1988

After the Holy War loco was finished, the stall started to raise money to refurbish the passenger carriages and after that it was for funding to rebuild the loco Alice. That locos owner, Chris Scott (at that time) promised that because Mom was regularly contributing to the cost of that rebuild she would be invited to offically rededicate the loco when the rebuild was completed.  Due to a number of things, the loco left the Bala Lake Railway to be completed and the relaunch/dedication took place at the Leighton Buzzard Railway.

Mom rededicating the namesake loco "Alice" at Leighton Buzzard Railway

It it was a good cause (in here eyes) and by helping she was with her beloved husband, Mom would volunteer to do it and this world is so much better that she had that can do attitude.