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The role of vicar’s wife was often that of an unpaid assistant. She was expected to be as visible and active in the parish as her husband and while we learn little of Catherine Whincup in the cuttings, this extract suggests she performed her role energetically. In October 1915 Christchurch, Windhill, ran a three day bazaar on the theme of Shakespearean Market and raised almost £1,000 towards eliminating the debt run up by the church day and Sunday school. Notable among the fund raisers was Catherine Whincup, the wife of the vicar, who raised £232 before the bazaar was opened. In a letter of good wishes to his parishioners Rev Whincup said: “I have heard excellent reports of the great preparations which you have
made in order that the schools’ debt may be removed and these reports have encouraged me very considerably in my hopes that your efforts may meet with the success which they undoubtedly deserve. “I hear that my wife has collected over £200 and she has often told me of the kindness with which she has been received in her endeavours to raise this amount. “But even fully allowing for all the goodwill which has been so generously shown towards her, I
should very much question whether it is not almost more preferable to be out here amidst the bombardment by shot and shell than having to bombard people for donations for Church Schools with the income tax etc., at its present height!” The Shipley Times & Express included a tongue-in-cheek editorial in praise of Mrs Whincup: “Women are replacing men in many spheres of activity and in not a few instances the fair sex will, when the war is over, retain the posts they now occupy. “We have no desire to unduly
alarm the Rev R Whincup while he is away at the front, still we feel constrained to strike a note of warning. If the rev. gentleman stays away for long he might find himself out of a job when he returns. “Mr Whincup has earned an enviable reputation for being energetic and enthusiastic and he has won the hearts of the people of all creeds and parties amongst whom he has laboured. But – and we say this in all seriousness – he had better look to his laurels. “By the way in which Mrs Whincup has thrown herself into the work of the bazaar, she has won the admiration of all and we even overheard an elderly parishioner remark: ‘We’s be all reight wi’ Mrs Whincup; shoo’d ma’ a champion Vicar’.”
‘Shoo’d ma’ a champion Vicar