Readers tell Bunny tales tales

FORMER members of The Hunts Post Bunny Fellowship have contacted the paper with their memories of the children s club, which – we now understand from readers – ran from the 1920s to the 1960s. In those days a bunny girl had an entirely different meaning

FORMER members of The Hunts Post Bunny Fellowship have contacted the paper with their memories of the children's club, which - we now understand from readers - ran from the 1920s to the 1960s. In those days "a bunny girl" had an entirely different meaning.

Derrick Smith, now 79 and living in Buckden, brought in cuttings from the newspaper, which his sister, Melba had kept since 1931 and 1932. The club collected "bun pennies" - coins with Victoria's head on them with her hair in a bun - and the money went to the children's ward at the county hospital.

A reporter, known as Uncle Bunny, visited children in hospital each week for a weekly column.

In 1931, Uncle Bunny described how a group of children from Diddington, included Mr Smith, then aged four, had raised 14/3d. In those days, 14 shillings and threepence - 71p - would have been half a week's wages for a working man.

The seven children put on a concert, they were Doris, Emily, Evelyn, Barbara and George Underwood and Derrick and Melba Smith.

Uncle Bunny mentioned that Barbara, aged three and Derrick and George aged four, were not members of the fellowship because they were not old enough.

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He wrote: "The kiddies, assisted by Mrs Underwood, arranged a concert, held in Mrs Underwood's house. There was a large attendance, which included the vicar and his wife. A penny was charged for admission."

There was also a draw (which raised 9/6d - 47.5p). The youngsters sent Uncle Bunny 171 pennies which went towards buying a cot at the hospital. A picture of Doris, Emily, Evelyn and Melba appeared under the headline "Proud Diddington Bunnies."

Another treasured cutting has Uncle Bunny describing one of his weekly visits to the children's ward at the hospital.

"In one of the beds was a little girl from Diddington, who had undergone an operation for tonsils. The patient was Dolores Edwards and she told me that she had never heard of me before. So I told her all about the Bunny Fellowship and how its members send contributions to the hospital.

"'Can anyone give towards the Bunny Fund,' she asked. 'Yes,' I said. And after I had left her and visited one or two more of the patients, she called me back and holding out a shilling, said, 'I would like to give this to the fund. It is all I have.'"

Other readers have written to share their memories. They were sparked off last month by a picture in the paper of Simon Irons, from Diddington, with a Bunny badge his metal detector found in a field.

Maureen Holden from Brampton, wrote: "I am glad to see that The Hunts Post Bunny Fellowship is not forgotten. I have a badge and also a book, being the winner of Uncle Bunny's weekly competition on December 18, 1941. I was nine and living in Buckden as Maureen Hales. I think it is lovely to see Mr Irons with the badge he found."

Phyllis Hall from Godmanchester, wrote to say that she and her two sisters had been bunnies in the 1920s and 1930s.

"I still have my badge. We were saving up for a cot in the children's ward."

She added: "When I met my future husband at the end of 1945 - the late Squadron Leader, Ronald E Hall - I learned that before he volunteered to join the RAF at the beginning of the war, he was a journalist with The Hunts Post and at one time he had been Uncle Bunny."

In the meantime, Ivy Randall, from Godmanchester, who was pictured last week with the Bunny Fellowship certificate she was awarded in 1941 for collecting 19 shillings (95p) contacted us to say her husband, Dennis still had some bun pennies.

* The Hunts Post wants to thank all the readers who have shared their memories with us. If there are more out there, Please let us know. Contact deputy editor, Angela Singer on 01480 443451, write to: The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB or email news@huntspost.co.uk

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