Anyone trying to trace ancesters from the Italian, Irish or Catholic Community in Sheffield will know that it isn't easy. Hours of searching for information and checking it out to make sure your research is correct. Its time consuming and sometimes less informative than one might have hoped.
If your ancesters were in the parish of St Vincents or burried in St Michaels Cemetry in Rivilin then you are one of the lucky ones.
Thanks to the dedication of a man for whom nothing seems to be to much trouble.
Vincent Hale has spent a larger portion of his life involved with parish matters but his dedication goes beyond this. Over the years he has colated and catologued details of burial records for St Michaels Cemetry not only given name and age of person but also name, address and burial site details- plot number etc.
Vincent is well known in ancestry circles, his name is mentioned fondly and given freely as the man to contact for help and information when looking for relatives.
Vincent Hale was born in 1931, and grew up in Sheffield Netherthorpe area. In his formative years he lived at 29 Montgomery Terrace Road Sheffield. The backyard housed workshops where Mr Franchetti a terrazzo stone mason would spend hours at work.
Upon leaving School at the age of 14 Vincent became a Soliciters Office boy, he remained in the legal profession and eventually qualified as a Solicitor in 1970. This wasn't easy as Vincent did not have a tutor of any kind but still managed to pass 13 exams.
In 2005 Vincent retired from practise but is still to this day heavily involved in helping people with their problems.
In the past he has worked with at least 25 Solicitors who have been jailed and/or struck off for dishonesty. Unlike the 'fat cat Solicitors' that line their pockets Vincent has always been one to campagne for the underdog. This has in the past involved taking on certain Charities when it was found to have obtained money (via a will) from a person that was not of sound mind. Vincent stepped in and on behalf of the family did what he could to help the aggreved parties.
Vincent by his own admission is somewhat of an expert in classical music and opera. a forerunner of classical FM on commercial radio in Sheffield for five years he had his own programme in which Italian composer, singers and musicians were regulary featured.
Over the years Vincent has aquired a large collection of music 78s, Lps, Cds and tapes, he is in the process of tranferring them all on to computer but finds that his time is in short supply.
At a time in his life when he should be slowing down and taking it a bit easier Vincent is still heavily involved with the Parish of St Vincents Church and St Michaels Cemetry he has recently finished a DVD with the Parish Priest doing a guided tour of the Chapel at Rivelin.
Vincent recollects some fond memories from his past " I had a young friend Joan Macioce of my age but her life was cut short by a Hitler bomb at the age of 9 in 1940. Her father was killed by the same bomb but her mother Esther lived on to the age of 83 running a sweet shop in meadow street in the little Catholic area with Nora O'Hara the widow of a friends uncle, and also hardressers and fruit & veg shop of Paddy Gaughan" .
"An Italian lady I used to take to mass at St Vincents was orignally a Granelli but became a Snape. She had no close relatives when she died so I put her into a vacant space next to my own intended grave in Rivilin". The afor mentioned lady shared Vincents passion for music. She spoke of the great tenor Gigli and said "he had such a strong voice" obviously speaking from hearing him in person, she then added " but not as strong as Caruso's". Vincent was in awe being in the presence of someone who had heard both tenors in the flesh.
Vincent also speaks fondly of his life long friend Dr Bill Hughes, he first met at the age of 8 at St Vincents and their friendship carried on whilst at De La Salle College. Bill became a consultant psychiatrist and soon after emigrated to Canada. Although Bill has been in Canada for over 40 years they have remained good friends and kept in touch. Contact has become easier over the years and thanks to modern technology they now keep in touch via videophone.
For your timeless selfless dedication we would like to say a big thankyou for everything you have done on behalf of our forfathers.