Alma Townend

An avid supporter of the village community (has been all her life).  Read any of the back copies of the Livewire and Messenger magazines and you will recognise the hand of someone who thinks and acts on so many aspects of this village.  Always led by her standards for fair play and protection of the village environment along with her active support of so many of its organisations.

Alma mastered the art of communications whilst at Castleford Grammar School, honed during her time at Bristol University Teacher Training College and a later placement at Leeds University.

The teaching experience, difficult to many was a source of satisfaction and accomplishment to Alma with stints at Crossflatts Park School, Mickletown School and a final placement as  biology  teacher at Royds High School where she served for 29 years becoming Head of Lower School in her final years there.

Doubtless she was able, over the years to introduce her students also to the finer points of maths and english language many of whom would become avid readers to her many contributions in the village magazine.

Her beloved Methodist chapel and its congregation has long been the base for her style of get up and go, I’m sure they all appreciate that.  Perhaps it was from here that she became involved in campaigns ranging from opencast working restoration, canal re-alignment and unauthorised land usage just to name a few of the causes celebre of concern to this village.  It was at a very early age that she was to write to the Yorkshire press of concern at the loss of so many trees to the opencast mesozoic monsters in this village.

Her background from a mining village and it’s rigid acceptance of the way things were, perhaps drove her to seeking change and motivating others towards improving this village outlook.

Most revealing was Alma’s conversation with her mother about the aftermath of a potentially serious mining injury to her father and how then, her mother was expected to wait overnight before making  what was to be a short hospital visit to Leeds Infirmary.   Such an experience must have been  further motivation against acceptance of the norm of those times.  All this recorded in the local book ‘Echoes and Reflections’ by Vera Garland.

Protecting the village from creeping urbanisation – lobbyists and pressure groups had nothing on our heroine, however Alma is fully aware that people will want to move into this village to set up home, and that land will slowly but progressively become available.

Someone said in the past that she should have put up for the council – I disagree, she should have stood for parliament where she would have been a leading protagonist in favour of equality of opportunity and fairness.

discere et docere

In the photo Alma’s father must have been 18 but does not look so young in the photo (right end of back row), he is standing next to Emma.
George (older than Thomas) back row 2nd left.  His little wife Edith lived opposite in Main Street. Their only son was killed – pilot training in Canada 1940 – his name is on the church memorial.
Harry (in uniform) is featured in an article published by Howard Benson on:-                                         
Matilda, Ivy, Emma, Elsie, Florrie
Harriet, John, Percy, Thomas, Harry, George, Sydney   Also Grandma Elizabeth.

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