A heart-warming piece. Following on from the Wakefield Express article about the severely disabled market gardener, Mark Frost, an appeal to purchase a self-propelling chair was launched by well-wishers. In less than two months, a local committee had not only raised the money but presented Frost with the chair.
Saturday 26 October 1918
PRESENTATION OF THE “MARK FROST” CHAIR.
INTERESTING GATHERING AT OUTWOOD
“Owd Mark Frost,” the octogenarian crippled gardener of Bragg Lane End, was a happy man on Tuesday evening, when at a social gathering at the Victoria Hotel, Outwood, he received at the hands of Mr Lewis Twigge, on behalf of the local committee, the handsome and useful self-propelling chair which had been purchased for him as a result of the appeal made through the columns of the “Wakefield Express.” When the subscription list was opened the matter was taken on with much enthusiasm by Mr Joe Whitworth, the genial host at the Victoria Hotel, and the company which foregather there, and when funds began to come in they started out with the idea of making the affair a big success. Subscriptions were got in and a committee formed to go into the question of the best type of machine to be purchased, this involving several journeys to neighbouring towns to inspect machines which were thought suitable. The machine purchased is a “Raybeck” hand-propelling tricycle, with double driving action, ball-bearing wheels, free-wheel, hand reverse brake, comfortable seat with box underneath, and adjustable back-rest. It is completely fitted with two lamps and all the necessary appliances and accessories. The trustees are Messrs. Lewis Twigge, Joe Whitworth, and William Hartley, and a deed has been drawn up by Mr. J. R. Green, solicitor, and signed by Mr. Frost and his sons, undertaking to deliver it up to the trustees for the benefit of the district when no longer required by him.
The presentation ceremony on Tuesday evening was presided over by Mr William Hartley, who described at length what had been done in connexion with the scheme, how the money had been raised, and the work put in by the committee, of whom Mr. J. Thorpe is the secretary. As a result of the newspaper appeal and the efforts of the committee a total of over £30 has been raised, all of which would go the benefit of their old friend Mark, as the whole of the expenses in connexion with the effort had been borne voluntarily. They were greatly indebted to Mr Waller of Stanley, who was the possessor of a similar machine to the one which was being presented that evening, for his helpful practical advice.
Mr. Twigge (with whom the idea of purchasing the chair originated), in making the presentation, said he had known Mark Frost for over 47 years, when he was a smart young man full of health and vigour, and when his garden on the railway-side was the best in the district. He was a hard-working, practical, persevering, and persistent gardener, and a very successful exhibitor at local shows. Even to-day, crippled though he was, he was cultivating three allotments, in which he did the whole of the work. Mr Twigge said that in addition to the kind help of the “Wakefield Express” in this matter, the committee were grateful for the help given by both Outwood and Wrenthorpe friends.
“Mark,” as he prefers to be called, in returning thanks, said he had not been able to get about much lately, but with that carriage he would be able to go “like steam and hair oil” (laughter), and that when he had done with it it would do for someone else in the parish. He then explained that some time ago Mr. Fred Smith, of the Outwood Hotel, gave him £5, raised a result of a concert to help him to purchase a chair, but as it was not sufficient it was banked and put where (as he naively put it) he “could not get at it.”
Complimentary speeches followed, in which high praise for much voluntary work was given by several who had taken an interest in the scheme, Mr. Whitworth, Mr. T. Hulme (the treasurer), and Mr. and Mrs. Thorpe coming in for special mention. The committee and the whole the workers, together with the proprietor of the “Wakefield Express,” were also warmly thanked for their services in the matter.
An hour was afterwards spent in harmony, amongst the contributors being the guest of the evening, who fancied himself somewhat as a fiddler. A whip-round for “a bit o’ bacca for Mark” realised £1 0s. 3d. Songs were given by Messrs. Hartley and Frost (two), with Mr. Hulme at the piano.
Mark Frost died in August the following year, whilst eating a meal.*
* Wakefield Advertiser & Gazette, 2 September 1919, p. 4.