A KEEN singer who has performed at the Royal Albert Hall had Happy Birthday sung to him on his 100th birthday.
Jack Rushworth, who was 100 on Tuesday, is an active member of Wyke’s Westfield Male Voice Choir – and even performed with them at his 100th birthday party at Holme House Care Home, Gomersal, where he lives.
He was born in Brighouse and moved to Cleckheaton aged nine when his father became the caretaker of Providence Place Chapel in Bradford Road. He lived underneath the chapel with his parents, younger sister, Marjorie, and brother, Eric, who sadly died aged three after an accident.
Jack went to Whitcliffe Road School and Whitcliffe Mount Grammar School where he was a talented sports player. At the 16th annual sports day, on June 20 1925, he entered the junior boys’ 100 yards flat race, the 100 yards hurdles, the high jump, the 220 yards flat race, throwing the cricket ball, the 350 yards flat race and the long jump, as well as playing football and cricket at school.
Jack’s father died in 1926 which meant Jack had to leave school to find work and support the family. He was given an apprenticeship at Samuel Whiteley and Sons Limited, sheet metal workers.
Daughter Jean said: “The 1920s were a time of extreme hardship and so pleased was one man that my dad had got a job that he crossed over Northgate to shake his hand.” Jack stayed at Whiteley’s until he retired. In 1934 Jack joined the Providence Chapel choir and played for the chapel cricket team, as well as taking opening bat for Hartshead Moor cricket team.
In 1944 he married Mary Perkins, from Millbridge, at Providence Chapel.
The couple had three children, Jean, Philip and Annette; four grandchildren, Leonie, Charlotte, Jack and Ella; and two great grandchildren, Samuel and Evie.
Jean said: “The chapel and singing have played a great part in his life. He sang solos with the chapel choir and joined male voice choirs in Batley and later Westfield, where he still attends as often as he can. He sang in the Royal Albert Hall with the Batley choir.”
Mary died in 2003 and Jack moved into Holme House four years ago.