Betty’s Batley News medal

Betty's medal from the Batley News.  (d610a403)
Betty's medal from the Batley News. (d610a403)

It was a gift from the Batley to a conscientious pupil.

In 1936 Betty Farrar left Park Road School, Batley, with a perfect attendance record – and was awarded a gold medal by the News.

Betty McAleavy with her Batley News award.  (d610b403)

Betty McAleavy with her Batley News award. (d610b403)

A newspaper cutting kept by Betty, now McAleavy, explained that the educational authorities used to award medals to pupils with perfect attendance, but ran out of money for the golden trinkets.

So the News stepped in – and Betty has kept her medal to this day.

In the cutting, it said: “We regret that the old custom has been discontinued, but Betty shall have a souvenir of her achievement.

The District News will be pleased to provide it and we shall be glad to make a similar present to any other boy or girl in the district who can claim an equally meritous record.”

The gold medal is engraved with the words ‘From the Batley News to Betty Farrar 1936’.

Betty 91, of West Park Terrace, Healey, never missed a day of school in eight years – even after breaking her collarbone during King George’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1935.

She fell while playing with her eldest brother, Herbert, who was riding his bike near their home in Hiberoyd Road.

Betty broke her collarbone – but still turned up at school the next morning.

“I liked school,” she said. “Or I wouldn’t have gone as often as I did!

“There was only one subject I hated and that was sums. I still don’t like sums.”

Aged two, Betty once followed Herbert to Park Road School and stayed in the nursery class while the school called home. Her mother and the police had been scouring the town for the missing toddler – but she was fast asleep in a little bed in the nursery.

After leaving school aged 14, Betty worked at J Auty and Co’s Little Orme mills in Clerk Green, Batley.

She also worked at Batley Baths before joining the Royal Air Force as a mechanic, working on Hurricane planes during World War Two.

It was in the RAF she met her husband Bill, and they married in 1947.

After the war, she worked at the Fox’s Biscuits factory in Wellington Street.