I suppose everyone in the age range 20 – 50 who has lived in the village will remember Mr. Cookman, Sir. I didn’t know him as teacher. However, I did suffer at his hands when he took on rugby training as a night school subject – he certainly didn’t go there to make anybody feel comfortable.
He and I played alongside each other in the front row at Castleford RUFC in the early ‘60s and what I can tell you, was that his superb physical fitness more than made up for his lightweight appearance. He didn’t always come off best though, and often when I see him I am reminded of the day he and his front teeth parted company in a tough match v Bramley.
So, after teacher training college and national service Cookman the younger was thrust upon Mickletown school where shortly afterwards the primary and secondary systems were rationalised with the introduction of the new schools at Little Church Lane and Royds High School.
This is when all you 20+ somethings were taught about the three field system and long division by one Ivor Cookman, Sir. Round about the same time he joined the Castleford Rugby Union Club where he continued his interest in singing developed at those earlier institutions, a talent that was to stand him in good stead after becoming a lay preacher at St Oswalds. What a benefit that was to the village in the light of later events when the church authorities were unable to appoint a rector for such a long period of time.
I always enjoy a pint with Ivor not only to learn what is happening at the church but to mull over old times, what I am pleased to report is that to prove his affinity to the village, like so many of its sons, he prefers not to pay a lot for his beer, hence his preference for the clubs.
Presumably the same motivation led to his interest in bee keeping and producing his own home made honey, all of which is tantamount to saying the values of thrift in Methley are alive and well.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I learn from him and I suspect most of those former pupils would agree, and that is not to accept the meaning of defeat but if it should be inevitable, then he would teach us to accept it with good grace. Four aces king – beat that Sir