The ongoing work of the Mission

 

            Annie Thompson

After the death of Charles Thompson the mantle fell upon his daughter Annie Nicol Thompson, and she proved to be a worthy successor, supervising the work until her death in 1965. For a while she was assisted by her brother Bateman Thompson until his death in 1942. In the 1904/5 Report she made the following comment, "It is now two years since my dear father's death, and the words, 'His works follow him', which are inscribed on a tablet to his memory in the large Hall, are very true, for our work has indeed been greatly blessed. This has been a fearfully hard winter for the poor. Owing to so many fathers being out of employment, the little ones have had a most trying time. I do not know whatever would have become of them, had it not been for their Mission, and kind friends. It is indeed a Haven of Refuge for many a weary little ones."

Moving forward 40 years the Birkenhead News did a feature on her life on 1st December 1945. In the article she said that since her father first took the town's poor children under his wing, no child had ever been turned away from the Mission disappointed. The days of the far famed "treacle butties" however had well gone, without which no Mission meeting was once considered complete. Fashions change, she said, even in food and the "butties" had given way to "buns." Also well gone, happily were the days when 70% who came to the Mission were bare-footed and hungry, but she said that each decade brought fresh responsibilities. During the 2nd World War she literally wrote hundreds of letters to "old" boys and girls in the Services. She also entertained a number of soldiers during the war, one of whom painted a picture of her to hang up in her Office. One of the highlights of the mission work during Annie's time was the annual river cruise, when hundreds of poor children enjoyed a trip on the River Mersey.

In 1953 she was awarded the MBE in recognition of her services to the people of Birkenhead. Her elder brother Albert also became a person of distinction. A prominent barrister he was at one time the assistant legal adviser to the King of Siam (Thailand) and at the time of his death was the legal adviser to the Sultan of Jahor (Malaysia).

After Annie died in 1965 the work continued for the next 20 years under the supervision of her two assistants Alice Beatrice Jones and Anne Lowry, until Rob Jeffs took over as Superintendent in 1985.

      Rob Jeffs (left) with John Pemberton

A special feature on Rob's work at the Mission was given in the Wirral Globe on 8th December 2010. In the article it said that during his time there, some 25,000 meals a year had been served to the homeless, children, elderly, lonely and anyone less fortunate. Rob had previously worked for Stork in Bromborough before coming to the Mission. The Mission, he said, is the last safety net for a lot of people, because for a lot of their folk, there's nothing after 'Thommo's'. He said that the work started off as a poor children's mission and has become the Charles Thompson's drop-in centre now, really. We still have children in need, he said, but it's largely a drop-in-centre for anybody and everybody.

Although Rob is still involved in the work of the Mission he passed over the "reins" to his successor Bernie Frost in 2010.

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