Perseverance was the name of the football side captained by Charlie in those successful years in between the wars. And perseverance was just one of the many qualities contributing to the stature of the man himself.
Charlie operated out of the Manor farm (opposite the Bay Horse) which was one of the many Mexbrough tenanted farms in Methley. During his time there, it would not be unkind to say that the farm buildings were a tad short of investment. Must have been one of the very few farms that had it’s own petrol pump (Derv).
Rationalisation and combination with Walter Riby and Stan Pyrah of Shann farm introduced the group into diversifying farm operations by marketing the produce. Yes, they were one of the earliest mobile farm shops. Reductions in arable land through building and coal mine expansion despite the excellent farming prospect available at Gamisker drove the need to add to their income and sell their produce directly.
After seeing the success brought about by Fred Riby in selling a surfeit of cauliflower from a wheelbarrow. The three partners embarked on an entrepreneurial business opportunity which was much welcomed in the village. A converted canvas covered farm cart including weighing scales with one horse power traction was enough to bring fruit, veg and forced rhubarb to the masses (village streets of Methley) o Friday evenings. This so as not to interfere with farming operations.
Charlie was perhaps better known and popular as a member and captain of the Methley Perseverance AFC (games played down Cutler Lane). Under his leadership the side won the Yorkshire League in 1923/24 and achieved high placings in that same league all that decade.
The Bentley family brought Stan Pyrah up following the death of Joseph Pyrah, his father at the battle of Arras in the first world war. A letter home from Joseph carried the words “I will be glad to be out of this damned place,” within a few days he was killed. His name is incorrectly engraved on the churchyard war memorial where it is recorded as Thomas Pyrah.
Charlie had been offered trials with Arsenal an opportunity which was denied him for family needs. They would of course have got a good ‘un. A defender on the field who was as strong as an ox (noted when I saw him handling sacks of potatoes). I am also informed that he had on one occasion lifted the front of the tractor enabling running repairs to take place.
No less was his outstanding contribution to Methley cricket club where he excelled both with bat and ball. Carrying on where he left off at Castleford Grammar School having been described as ‘another first class bowler from Methley’. Also recognised at this school as a first class footballer.
Highly regarded throughout his life, Charlie Bentley would engage in civic responsibilities often being involved in the coroner’s jury concerning local deaths by misadventure.
Winding up the partnership which could not compete with the onslaught of sales by the encroaching supermarkets, Charlie was later compelled to work directly for Mexbrough farming.
On retirement Charlie and Elsie moved into the larger section of Clayton Villa in Woodrow during the period of the 1960’s.
Would welcome any photo featuring the cart.