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This story about Tony Hazell, Percy's grandson appears in todays Mail.
THEY were known as the city’s Little Sparrows.
For more than 35 years, poverty-stricken children living in Birmingham were treated to an annual Christmas party by their local MP, Percy Shurmer.
Decades on from the last festive treat in 1957, Percy’s grandson Tony Hazell has continued a family tradition of doing good deeds by helping out pupils at the school bearing the politician’s name.
An entire class of kids at Percy Shurmer School in Balsall Heath are tuning up for free ukulele lessons as part of a trust fund set up by Mr Hazell.
The generous gift was unveiled as pupils and past and present gathered at the primary school for its annual Percy Shurmer day celebration, which is held to mark the anniversary of the Sparkbrook MP’s birth.
Tony, a retired professor who is currently chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said: “My grandfather did a lot for the people of Birmingham and it is remarkable that so many people remember him.
“This find was set up for the school to use every year as they see fit, but my grandfather loved music and set up marching bands so I think this is very fitting indeed.
“He was a very special role model and I am proud to call him my grandfather.”
Mr Shurmer, who was 71 when he died in 1959, was regarded as a major benefactor of the poor and working classes as a Labour MP for Sparkbrook, a seat he held from 1945 until his death.
His generosity began with his election to the city council in 1921, when he held the first of his Christmas parties at Birmingham Town Hall for deprived children.
Up to 1,500 youngsters, who became known as Percy Shurmer’s Little Sparrows, packed the hall to be entertained by stars such as Max Bygraves.
The first party was funded with cash left over from his council election expenses and, when it became clear more money was needed, Mr Shurmer donned fancy dress and went out collecting with a barrel organ.
The school’s celebrations, held on what would have been Mr Shurmer’s 121st birthday, were also attended by some of Percy’s Little Sparrows, who are now pensioners.
Teacher Angela Lane said: “Percy Shurmer made a difference to the lives of people in Birmingham, especially children, so Tony is carrying on that tradition and we are extremely grateful for that.”
Percy was obviously on one of his fund raising door to door drives which he would do every year to raise money for his Christmas party for his sparrows. Sometimes he would dress up and push a barrel organ accompanied by a monkey. He didn't care who he accosted in the street as long as they handed over some money.
Many thanks for down loading that info, of course I do have a great interest in Percy and I hope you do not mind I will down load
It my my collection that's brilliant you have seen it. My thread and of course Carolina,s picture was also brilliant which I have down loaded
The info, you have given me is beyond beggars. Believe as yes I agree. They should ha e put a stature up of him
Many thanks Phil, Alan,,,,,,
I grew up in Hall Green and much of the time I was there Aubrey Jones was the MP (from 1950-1965). Apparently, the constituency of Birmingham Hall Green was newly formed only in 1950. I therefore wonder how the area of Hall Green, in terms of voting, was split before this time and whether Percy Shurmer was also MP for part of Hall Green before 1950? Dave
Does the first image of the Market Hall show the edge/plinth of the clock on the extreme left-hand side ? Think the photo is from the 1940s. At first I thought it was the edge of the fountain, but the fountain would have been removed by this time and, in any case it's in the wrong position. You can also see (I think) cables in the trough. Image of the clock itself is attached for ref. Viv.
I don't think the structure you indicate is Percy's clock as it was located above the offices which I think are located to the left of your photo. The structure you indicate is obviously positioned on the floor, this is purely supposition on my part as I really do not know where the offices were located. Perhaps if we have a poster who remembers the market hall before the war they will remember where the offices were located.
A couple more images I have found since starting this thread, the first one is another Sparrows party at the town hall sorry I don't know the date. The second one is The Birmingham Tigers and the Slough Flyers in 1951 at a local black patch that looks like Alfred Street Sparkbrook to me.
A couple of photos with connections to Percy Shurmer, the first on being another image of the Deritend & St Martins Girls band and another image of the Market Hall clock whilst still located at the Imperial Arcade in Dale End.
My last couple of images for now, the first one shows Percy on the campaign trail, even then he didn't forget his sparrows as can be seen by the election pamphlets in one hand and the collection box in the other. The second one shows him on a visit to the Birmingham Mail & Post in 1951
I've always said that I didn't think I had a photo of Percy's clock after it had been moved to the market hall except the rather poor image that I recently posted. So imagine my surprise when looking through my collection for something else I came across this one with the clock as large as life on the left of the photo. Pity it's not a better image.