OBITUARY The Holly Leaf (July 31)

Mr. Joseph Batey was appointed Principal of Pupil Teacher Centre in 1921.


At the Holly Guild Reunion last Christmas, Mr. Batey, in an affecting speech, when thanking the members for their warm welcome on his return to Centre after his illness, said he feared that he would see but few more such gatherings.  Nobody who heard him could then have thought that two short months would see his lease of life expired.  By their loss, Centre and the Guild are bereaved of more than a Principal and a President, for he was a remarkable man.

All who in any way came into contact with him could not have failed to be impressed by his vigorous personality which expressed itself in persistent determination and acts of spontaneous generosity.  The story of his early life - the struggle against poverty to provide himself with College fees, his incessant toil and heroism in studying in difficult circumstances - bears witness to his forcefulness.  His later career as Head of several Elementary Schools Principal of the Centre, and as a public man of prominence, is sufficient tribute to his success.  His generosity was the result of an impulsive desire to be helpful to others and showed itself in unsparing devotion of himself, his time, and all that was his.  His Schools, the centre, the Guild, the Diocese of Sheffield, the teaching profession in general and the Benevolent and Orphan organisations of the N.U.T., and not least, innumerable individual boys and girls, men and women, whom he helped in private, by word, counsel and act, can testify to his unfailing good nature, and help freely given without thought of repayment or of cost.

He was essentially friendly and well-meaning.  His Staff was never unduly interfered with in its teaching duties, and expecting the best from it, he received as well its loyal co-operation.  Like all people of strong personality, he had views which did not always meet with general approval, but they were expressed with vigour and translated into action with an extraordinary degree of industry and detail.  One recognised in him a gift of insight into character and a facility for "getting things done" by himself as well as by others.  His organising ability was considerable.  Many will remember him by his successful labours in the Empire Pageant, and few will have forgotten the prodigious efforts he made in bringing to a triumphant success Centre's Bazaar to augment the Benevolent Fund of the Holly Guild.  His powers of discipline and his control of a large School were remarkable, as all know who have attended the School Concerts.

His passing came as a release from great suffering, long patiently borne.  He died, as he would have wished, at the height of the public estimation, and in the midst of his labours.  With solemn pomp, with respect and affection, in the Cathedral were paid our last tributes to departed merit - by a crowded assembly of the whole School, and other mourners representing all those interests and causes he had striven faithfully and devotedly to serve.

On such a day as we might have chosen, we laid him to rest, quietly and reverently, while a wintry sun, from a blue sky, transformed the peaceful snow to a sheen of dazzling white.
 

An address given by Archdeacon Darbyshire (now Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway)
at the funeral service in Sheffield Cathedral
on Friday, February 13th 1931

Acts xi, 24, - "For he was a good man and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith".

The world is full of good men.  Very mercifully the men whose deliberate aim in life is purely selfish or purely destructive are very, very few.  Probably at all times the number of men who have wished well by their fellows and done some service for the community has exceeded the number of those, who were like Ishmael with their hands against every man and every man's hands against them.  It is one of the gifts of God to our civilization that the general atmosphere and Christian influence on life is to make men and women on the whole mean well, and to a very great extent serve their generation well.  But every now and then there is one among us who is conspicuous by the amazing activity of his good works, by the verve and vigour of his influence.  Such men seem to be filled with a spirit of energy, to possess some special endowment of personality.  And these are either of the greatest service to the community or they are great dangers to the community, for they have particular gifts and powers which are given to them either to use or to abuse.  When such men consecrate their activities and spend themselves in the service of the community, we are justified I believe in saying of them that they are good men and full of the Holy Ghost.  For their particular gifts and endowments are gifts of the Holy Ghost, and as they strive to consecrate them to the service of the community, they are trying to use these gifts according to the will of God.  But there are some who are not merely men of benevolence and activity, of sound judgement and vigour in action;  there are some whose lives are conspicuously informed by the spirit of God, so that whatever they undertake, their work is performed as unto God, for they have given themselves a living sacrifice, body and soul, to the God whom they adore, and the Master whom they own;  they have been transformed by the renewing of their mind, and they are able to behold, and in an amazing measure to fulfil, the good and perfect and acceptable will of God.  Of such was Joseph Batey.

In his work as an educationalist, he showed himself incessantly active and keen, always thinking how he could improve his work, and how he could bring every activity of his mind, to bear upon it.  Nor was his influence confined simply to those among whom he taught in the various positions he held among us.  There are some among you here to-day who know how actively and keenly interested he was in the great Orphanage which is already established in our midst, very largely by his efforts.  You have come to-day to pay your last homage to this good man in the Central Mother Church of this Diocese, for perhaps there was no one man among those who serve as Laymen in the Diocese of Sheffield whose help was more widely given and more widely valued, and whose presence will be more universally missed.  Indeed, we may lament that Joseph Batey was so entirely willing to be spent in the service of his Master.  Yet he has given to that Master the service of a not short lifetime, and in the incessant activity and vigour of his service he has done what many a man would fail to do in twice the number of years.
 

We cannot exactly mourn when such a man is called to his rest.  If ever anybody deserved rest it was such a man, and if we believe, as believe we must, that the rest of the souls who are delivered from the burden of the flesh is a rest of a brighter and more splendid activity - for the saints rest from their labours and their works do follow them - then we cannot mourn to think of this man having gone from our midst to a higher and nobler service still.  Yet for ourselves, and for those who loved and knew him best, we mourn.  No man is indispensable.  The work of the Pupil Teacher Centre will go on;  the work of the Orphanage will go on;  we shall still manage in the Diocese, yet we shall all miss this man whose influence and encouragement were so incisive, bracing and inspiring.  And for those who mourn him most dearly, our presence here is but some little token of our sympathy and our desire that in the hour of their great loneliness we may uphold them and commend them to God with all confidence and all hope, for indeed Joseph Batey was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith.
 

Mr. Joseph Batey was appointed Principal of Pupil Teacher Centre in 1921 - ARTICLE