Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
Memories & Memorabilia
photographs from Susan Clatworthy & School Archives
On 1 July 1960, an international campaign to promote a better understanding of the problem of providing enough food for the present and future population of the world was launched in Rome by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, (FAO). The UN encouraged the formation of national campaigns, and consequently on 27 June 1962, the Duke of Edinburgh, as Patron, launched the Freedom From Hunger Campaign in the United Kingdom. This ceremony was the culmination of months of preparation and planning.
It triggered off one of the biggest voluntary fund-raising drives the country had ever seen for overseas development. Over 1,000 local committees, supported by the sixty-seven voluntary organisations affiliated to the UK Freedom From Hunger Committee, and thousands of individuals with no previous organisational allegiance, were brought together. It was expected that by June 27, 1965, when the Campaign was to end, £5.5m would have been raised. In fact, by 1965, the Campaign had raised £7 million, for over 400 projects overseas.
There was a local group set up in Aberdare, with Mr John Clatworthy, manager of the Midland Bank, as treasurer. As far as we know, pupils in Aberdare Schools were involved in the FFHC events in both the 1962–63 and 1963–64 academic years. Some of the mementos are presented below.
A 1962-63 group
In the following year, sixth form students continued with the fund raising. Activities included carol singing in the town centre, car washing, shoe cleaning and a ‘dance’ which took place in the Go-Go Bar, (inside the Constitutional Club on the corner of Canon Street and High Street). Below are some newspaper cuttings and an article written by Pat Jones about the activities in the Girls’ School.
And lastly, an account by Pat Jones of the Girls’ School FFHC activities from the Girls’ School Magazine of 1964
On Friday, May 1st, we (Pat Jones and Pamela Jones, of Form 6 A — Pamela Jones deputising for Susan Clatworthy, the other school representative, who unfortunately had an examination that day) attended an Assembly of School Representatives for the Freedom from Hunger Campaign in the College of Advanced Technology in Cardiff, which was to be addressed by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.
The programme opened with a mime dance performed by Newtown Girls’ High School, which echoed the theme followed by the other musical items – that of practical help for the needy. Lady Brecon then welcomed Prince Philip, who is Patron of the Campaign, and invited him to present certificates to the winners of the St. David’s Day Essay Competition, the subject of which was “The Freedom from Hunger Campaign.” Later the Duke addressed us, giving details of the state of funds and the ways in which they are being used to push back the barriers of hunger and ignorance in the world today. He was pleased to learn that the efforts of Welsh schoolchildren had brought in £20,000 (our school having contributed over £500 in the past few years). Afterwards, having waited an hour to see him again, our patience was rewarded by an excellent view of the Duke as he came out.
In recent years, this school has generously supported the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. A great deal of effort has been put into this work by the girls. Sales of work, car cleaning at five shillings a time, raffles, dances, and Christmas-carol singing are just a few of the ways in which funds have been raised. Organising and taking part in these activities can be a lot of fun and it gives a feeling of satisfaction to know that through the school’s efforts money is being added to the campaign. However, as the Duke of Edinburgh himself emphasised, it is no use sitting back and feeling complacent about what has been done. So, come on school, make use of some well-tried ideas and produce some original schemes as well. Set yourself a target and go all out to achieve it. Remember that the Boys’ Grammar School works for the campaign also. Show them that you can beat any sum they raise. It is a challenge; we know you can do it — now go and prove it!
Pat Jones, 6A.
Not to be outdone, the good citizens of Abergavenny persuaded the Beatles to help with fundraising for the FFHC. On 23 June 1963 the Beatles played at Abergavenny Town Hall, (for a fee of £250), and afterwards all four Beatles signed autographs which were sold to fans for 3d each, with proceeds going to the local branch of the Freedom From Hunger Campaign.