Rev Wyndham Earee farewelled, 1905

St Matthew's Sunday-school was packed to the doors last evening, when the parishioners tendered a farewell social to their departing Vicar [Rev. Wyndham Earee]. On the platform were seated the Rev. D. J. Murray and Mr P. L. Hollings, representing the local Methodist Church, the Rev. R. Young (Anglican), of Greytown, and prominent local Anglican churchmen.

Mr F. Gover occupied the chair.

The first part of the evening was devoted to harmony, the following programme being rendered; Orchestral selection, "Country Girl," Masterton Orchestra; solo, "I have no hero's face," Mr J. H. Smith; duet, "Go, Pretty Rose," Miss Barclay and Mr Jago; solo, "To see fair play," Mr Iggulden (encored); violin solo, Miss K. Holloway; solo, from "The Geisha," Miss Reed; solo, "Romany Lad," Mr W. Jago; song, "Always Together," the Vicar, encore number--Queen of my heart tonight;" Orchestral selection, "Swanee River."

After the musical programme, the Chairman asked Mr. W. H. Jackson to read letters apologising for absence from various prominent citizens:

From Mr A. W. Hogg, M.H.R., expressing a hope that the Vicar's future would be prosperous and happy, and signifying appreciation of his truly cosmopolitan character.

His Worship the Mayor sent an apology for his non-attendance at the gathering, owing to pressing business at Mangamaire. He wished the departing Vicar a prosperous voyage.

Staff-Captain Bridges, of the Salvation Army, wrote regretting being away in Wellington, but joined in wishes for a happy voyage.

The Rev. R. Wood sent an apology through pressing Church matters, but conveyed best wishes for a pleasant trip.

The following Anglican clergymen also sent messages of farewell:--Revs. A. M. Johnson (Greytown), V. H. Kitkat (Eketahuna), D. O. Hampton (Levin), and H. G. Leach (Pahiatua).

The Chairman then said that on the Vicar's return--eight months ago--they had hoped that he would stay permanently with them, but it was not to be so. There was, he felt sure, a very general feeling of regret at the departure of their Vicar, and they sincerely trusted he would find English life congenial. He read a resolution of the Vestry, passed at a special meeting, on Monday evening, assuring the Vicar of its regret at his departure, and its good wishes for his future. The speaker referred to the various indications of progress, due to the Vicar's energy. On behalf of the Vestry, he asked him to accept a cheque for twenty guineas, from themselves and the parishioners, as a mark of their appreciation of his services.

Mr Fendall, for the Choir and Sunday School teachers and scholars, expressed their sorrow at their Vicar's departure, and asked him to accept some slight tokens of their regard. He handed to the reverend gentleman a handsome portmanteau, silver-mounted set of toilet articles and pen, and a cheque.

Mr D. A. Morton, speaking for the now disbanded Church Lads' Brigade, asked the Vicar to accept as a present the bugle of the late corps, suitably engraved as a memento of the good times enjoyed by the recipient and the donors in times gone by. The speaker dwelt fully upon the utility of the Brigade and the Vicar's interest in it, and his ever-ready assistance, and on behalf of those lads still remaining in Masterton (once members of the Brigade) concluded by wishing the reverend gentleman a hearty farewell.

Mr J. Candy, on behalf of the Masterton Orchestral Society, presented their late conductor with a gold pendant, and expressed the Society's regret at his departure.

The Rev. Young, in appreciative remarks, bade farewell to his brother pastor. He felt that the Vicar had done good work in his parish, and especially among the young men.

The Rev. D. J. Murray said that although he had not come full-handed, he came with a full heart. Though not definitely joined with the Vicar of St. Matthew's in social work, that gentleman had his full sympathy in many special undertakings in which he had been engaged.

Mr W. H. Jackson, Vicar's Churchwarden, mentioned, that since the Vicar's arrival, in 1897, St Matthew's Church had been enlarged by one-third its former dimensions, and even now the accommodation is inadequate. The departing Vicar had built up one of the finest choirs in the Colony. He had also given numerous organ recitals, enabling the public to enjoy the efforts of the best vocal and instrumental talent available. He then referred to the various cantatas and oratorios which had been produced from time to time, and to his authorship of the patriotic song "The Nation Mother's Call," the sales of which had been the means of augmenting the funds of "New Zealand More Men Fund." The Vicar's services as choirmaster and conductor, without salary, had saved the Vestry a considerable annual sum. He also mentioned the Vicar's successful agitation in connection with the leasing of a portion of the Church Acre. Reference was also made to his practical assistance in connection with procuring the pipe-organ and its hydraulic engine, the erection of the new Church at Taueru, the fund for re-roofing St. Matthew's Church, etc.

The Vicar, in his reply, said he greatly appreciated the kind letters from the Member for Masterton and the Mayor. In a different sense he appreciated what had been said by the Revs. Young and Murray, and paid a high tribute to both these gentlemen and their influence on his life and work. The Vestry he thanked most deeply, and declared that all the good deeds attributed to him by the Vestry would have been impossible without that body's staunch support. He thanked the choir, Sunday-school teachers and scholars, and would ever remember them. Nothing could have pleased him better from the Church Lads' Brigade than the present they had chosen and he would never forget that excellent little band. He also heartily thanked the Orchestral Society for their present. His departure was the outcome of a promise to his father, which he was bound to keep. He was leaving Masterton a poorer man than when he came to it. He hoped the congregation would rally round his successor, and he trusted that every blessing would attend them.

Refreshments were then handed round, while the Vicar bade farewell to those present. The gathering terminated at 11.30 p.m.