East Side Charity Collectors
This photograph is of a group of women from East Side, who collected money on the French Flag Day in 1915. Back row second from the left is Maria Geering and on the far right is her sister Mabel. They both lived at 40 Railway Road.
Almost 18,000 charities were set up during the First World War, including those offering relief to servicemen and their families, providing “comforts” to serving troops, aid for refugees and relief for people in the allied countries affected by the war.
Women took a major role in fundraising. The East Sussex News is full of reports of monies collected by the women of the town, on the various flag days. On the 14th July 1915 (Bastille Day) a flag day was held in aid of the French Relief Fund, to help the French victims of war. Collections were taken on the streets of Newhaven between 9am and 9pm. The regimental band of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment played at the Gymnasium between 2:45pm and 4:45pm and again between 7:30pm and 9:30pm. They had planned to play on the recreation ground, but an afternoon of rain led to a change of venue. The vessels in the port were asked to “dress” their ships for the occasion. The total amount collected through street collections and from the various churches, amounted to £84. 6s. 6d. (almost £5,900 in today’s money). A special vote of thanks was given to the lady helpers at the Committee on the 29th July.
By Jenny Flood. Photograph by kind permission on Newhaven Museum