Letters & Stories
MY LIFE AT ST BEDE’S by Betty Candy – April/May 1995 Issue
My earliest recollection of St Bede’s is going to Sunday School in the kindergarten room in the hall in Ward Street. When I was 11 years old I was asked to join the choir by Mr George Hunter who was the organist/choirmaster. The Rev’d Frank Hewitson was Priest in Charge. I remember wearing a black skirt, white blouse and a black hat – no lady went to church without wearing a hat! The choir girls donned our hats in the small storage room off the northern porch – it got quite crowded at times. Any young person with any sort of voice ended up in the choir. I was confirmed on 25 September 1940 by Bishop Nutter Thomas, having just turned 13. I romped through my teenage years with appearances in St Bede’s Concert Party – “The Merry Fellows” – and other activities including teaching Sunday School under the superintendent of the kindergarten, Miss E Pepper.
My brother, Alex Chisholm, was called into the Army and went overseas like so many other boys. There was fund-raising for the war effort going on everywhere and my mother, Mrs Violet Chisholm, and I went to the Ward Street hall to Red Cross and Comfort Fund meetings, which all our church ladies attended. We had a new dance floor put down in the hall and a monthly dance was held. St Bede’ s dances were very popular and continued for many years. In September 1945, we held a Victory Ball. The whole congregation rejoiced at the return of our young men and when Alex came home he paid for my tuition for singing lessons at the Conservatorium but after 18 months I had to give them up. I was doing so much singing at the ‘Welcome Homes’ etc., that it had affected my throat, and I was advised by my doctor to stop singing for at least 3 months, so I had to leave the choir. I was 18 and devastated.
During this time, at one of our monthly dances, I met Ray Candy and we were married on 30 October 1948, by my brother-in-law, the Rev’d Arnold Bowers, assisted by the Rev’d Frank Hewitson. Ray and I bought a fruit and vegetable business on Semaphore Road, where we stayed for 25 years. Our son, Peter, was born on 30 January 1950, then daughter, Christine, on 30 July 1951. When they were old enough to go to Sunday School, I became a teacher again, but after 3 years the choir called again. Mr George Hunter was still organist/choirmaster. As membership was very low, Judy Schroder, Barbara Bannigan and I were often the only ladies. A young Tony Noble eventually joined us. By then the ladies wore white dresses and blue veils and the Rev’d Ben Jones was Rector. Eventually choir gowns were made for us – the ones we wear today. Mter the retirement of Mr Hunter in 1968, St Bede’s had a succession of organists until 10 years ago when Mr Keith Hutton graced our organ stool. I love the choir at St Bede’s – it has always been my second home.