County: Northumberland
Issued on: Return
Date of presentation: 01/06/1901
Number issued: 2


Gold medals, suitably inscribed, to:

Newcastle Royal Engineers (Vols) –

5849 Sapper Michael LAVERICK

Volunteer Active Service Company, Northumberland Fusiliers –
7584 Private Francis [Frank] HOPE

Presentation made by the Rev. W. Finlay, in the Co-operative Hall, Seaton Burn.


Shields Daily News, 03/06/1901
Morpeth Herald, 25th May 1901



Sapper Michael LAVERICK, who for the last sixteen months has served with the Newcastle Section of Engineers in South Africa, returned home on Friday evening, May 17th. He was met at Newcastle by a large circle of friends, and on reaching Seaton Burn, a great bulk of the inhabitants met the conveyance in which he rode, and the horses were unyoked, and he was conveyed through the village. The procession was headed by a band, who played such popular airs as “Soldiers of the King” and “When Johnny comes marching home again”. The enthusiasm being very great, and despite the lateness of the hour, the greater part of the villagers were present to give LAVERICK a right loyal reception. LAVERICK was afterwards taken from the conveyance and carried shoulder height to the village square, where Mr R. White, in the name of the inhabitants, welcomed LAVERICK home, and congratulated him as one of the Newcastle Engineers who had undergone such hardships and had reached home uninjured. At this stage of the proceedings, a bonfire was lighted, and the large company joined in the singing of a number of patriotic songs. This continued till early morning, when they afterwards dispersed. For some time past, a committee has been in existence collecting subscriptions to make Sapper LAVERICK and Private F. HOPE of the Northumberland Fusiliers, who was expected to reach home on May 20th, with a public testimonial. The function is expected to take place in the Co-operative Hall, Seaton Burn, on June 1st, when each will be presented with a gold medal and a purse of gold.
Morpeth Herald, 8th June 1901


On Saturday night, the Co-operative Hall, Seaton Burn, was filled to its utmost capacity, the occasion being to present Sapper M. LAVERICK, of the Newcastle Engineers, and Private Frank HOPE, of the Northumberland Fusiliers Service Company, who returned home a few days ago from South Africa. The presentation consisted of a beautiful gold medal, suitably inscribed, and a purse of gold to each. Previous to the time of the meeting the band paraded the principal thoroughfares, which were beautifully decorated for the occasion with flags and banners. The hall was also nicely arranged with Union Jacks and other flags, which had a most striking appearance. Long before the time appointed for the meeting to commence the building was filled with enthusiastic people, who had congregated to accord to the two volunteers a hearty welcome, and when they put in an appearance three cheers were given again and again, and patriotic songs were sung in a right merry style. Mr White presided, and was supported on the platform by Mr P. Bolam, manager of the Seaton Burn Coal Company, the Rev. W. Finlay, and others.

Mr Bolam, in a few well-chosen remarks, expressed his pleasure at being present on such an occasion. He was also delighted to see such a good turnout, who, he saw by their countenances, had come to enjoy themselves. Personally speaking, he did not know much of the two young men whom they had met that night to honour, but he was one who believed in giving honour where honour was due. He had much pleasure in asking Mr White to take the chair.

Mr White said in the name of the people of Seaton Burn he accorded to the volunteers a hearty welcome home. All of them who had read the newspapers would be fully aware as to the work the Newcastle Engineers and the Northumberland Fusiliers had done in this campaign, and he was pleased to see two of their volunteers had returned home. There was one young man who had left the place met his death in South Africa – a young man he was sure had the respect and goodwill of the whole of the people of Seaton Burn – and they extended to the bereaved parents their sympathy at the great loss they had sustained. He was one who wished this unhappy war would soon come to an end, as the cost to the country was very great, and the loss of so many valuable lives was a serious matter in his eyes. He was very pleased to say the people of Seaton Burn had responded most liberally to the subscription lists that had been out on behalf of the two volunteers they had with them that night. He had before him a lengthy programme to go through, and asked the band to commence the proceedings by paying a march, which was well rendered. Mr John Hancox afterwards ably sang “A Soldier and a Man”, and Mr E. Montford followed with “Oh, what a day we are going to have tomorrow”. Mr W. Taylor played a concertina solo, entitled, “Home, Sweet Home”, and being encored gave “The Bells”. Mr Mason sang “McNamma’s Band”. Mr Gray followed with a popular song, entitled, “How do they know I am Irish?”

The Chairman called on the Rev. W. Finlay to make the presentations.

 The reverend gentleman on rising said: Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, – I crave your kind indulgence whilst I occupy your time only a few minutes. Mr G. Wilkinson had promised to be here tonight, but he was sorry to inform me owing to some of his family being sick he was not able to attend. They knew if Mr Wilkinson could not be with them in person, he was with them in spirit. I had the honour, a short time ago, of saying a few words of welcome to these two men from South Africa, and I can only reiterate the same sentiments tonight as I expressed on that occasion. I believe the whole of this large assembly feel delighted at seeing their two friends amongst them once more from the seat of war. Those who have anxiously waited for their safe return, have been gratified, and we are met tonight to do them honour, and to give tangible expression of our feelings towards them. Our nation has been moved for months past, and it has been a very pleasing feature to see that at a time of their country’s danger such men as Sapper LAVERICK and Private HOPE had left their homes to go and serve their country in a time of need. All of us cannot but feel at the great loss of so many lives, which we could ill afford to lose. Many young men had come forward at a critical time of their country’s history, and he was satisfied if more were required they would be forthcoming. They still retain their old traditions to stand up in defence of King and country, such a ready response from all parts of the British Empire had bound them more closer together. I am pleased to see you safely home of friends who are near and dear to you, and by the goodness of Almighty God they had reached home uninjured. After having undergone great danger on the field of battle. He asked Saper LAVERICK and Pte. HOPE to accept of the gold medals and a purse of gold, which had been subscribed by the inhabitants of the district. The medals would be something to look upon in after years. The purse of gold was also a very useful present. Mark Twain had said that money was the root of all evil, but personally speaking, he would like a little more root. In handing them the presents he trusted they would have a long and prosperous future life before them, and may their acts be always noble and good, and as they have been rewarded tonight by devoting their lives to all things that are noble, they will be rewarded as all true patriots by God above.

Mr Finlay resumed his seat amidst applause. At this stage of the proceedings, the large assembly rose as one and sang “Rule Britannia”, and “They are jolly good fellows”.

On quietness being restored, Sapper LAVERICK, in a few appropriate remarks, thanked them all for the welcome they had given him and the beautiful medal and purse of gold he had received that night. He never expected anything of the kind, and as long as he lived he would honour them in remembrance of his many friends at Seaton Burn.

Private HOPE said, like his friend, LAVERICK, he was no speechmaker, but considered it his duty to say something in return for their kindness to him. When the country called for volunteers, Sapper LAVERICK and himself were amongst the first to offer their services. They had seen a little the time they had been there, and if on any future occasion the country needed his services he would respond to the call. He thanked them heartily for their great kindness, which would long be remembered by him.

The second part of the programme was proceeded with as follows: – Song, “Laughing Nigger”, encore, “Hang your hat behind the door”, Mr E. Montford; duet, “Larboard watch”, Messrs J. Hancox and H. Gray; concertina solo, “Blue bells of Scotland and variations”, Mr W. Taylor; song, “What Gilligan did”, Mr Mason; song, Mr Gray; song, “Hydrophobia”, Mr W. Barrow; song, “The veteran”, Mr P. Bolam; recitation, “The soldier’s return”, Sergt. Pearson; song, “Sentenced to death”, Mr J. Hancox; song, “When Jack comes today”, Mr H. Gray.

On the motion of Mr J.W. Slater, seconded by Mr Rochester, a vote of thanks was accorded to all who had given their services that night.

Mr P. Bolam and the Rev. W. Finlay responded.

A similar compliment was paid to the chairman for presiding.

Mr J. Cherry, A.L.C.M., Dudley, made an excellent accompanist. A dance followed, there being a large attendance, the band supplied the music. Messrs J. and T. Knox officiated as M.C.’s. The whole arrangements were ably carried out by a strong committee, with Mr R. White as chairman, Mr James, treasurer, and Mr Ralph Nichol, secretary.