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Celebrity Drawings by John Moss

Religion, Philanthropy & Philosophy

Mary Moffat

Mary Moffat, missionary from Dukinfield in Tameside

Born Mary Smith at Plantation Farm in Dukinfield on the 24th
May 1795, Mary Moffat, and her husband Robert, were to become
a major missionary figures in South Africa in the 19th century.
Her homelife during childhood was devoutly Christian and from
an early age, while at the Fairfield Moravian School, she expressed
an intention to go into missionary work.
In 1816 she met her future husband Robert Moffat who had moved
into the district. He was also determined to be a missionary,
and the couple married, despite her family objections, later
in 1819, when Mary had joined him in South Africa.
They immediately set off by ox cart to travel overland to Lattakoo,
some 800 miles north of Cape Town. Life on the mission station
which they built was hard and testing – they had to grow their
own food and learn the language of the natives whom they hoped
to convert to Christianity. The local Bechuana tribe offered
little help and regarded them with a mixture of suspicion and
fascination. During the Boer War in the 1820s their lives was
in perpetual risk from warring tribes.
Gradually, they learned to speak in the local language and began
to gain the respect of local people and actually translated
the New Testament into the Sechuana language. In all they remained
at work in Africa for more than fifty years, during which time
Mary gave birth to nine children.
During a return visit to England from 1839-1843, Robert met
with the young David Livingstone, whom he persuaded to work
in Africa, and after a prolonged stay with the Moffats, Livingstone
married their eldest daughter Mary in 1845.
In 1870 the Moffats returned to England and Mary died just five
months later in Brixton, London on the 10th of January 1871.

Ann Lee

Eldress Anna White of the Shaker Movement in New England
Anna White of Mount Lebanon, New York

Ann Lee was born on 29th February 1736 in Toad Lane, Manchester,
England (later renamed “Todd Street” and subsequently
overbuilt by Victoria Station in the 1840s, only a few yards
of Todd Street now survive).
‘Mother’ Ann Lee (as she came to be called), was a founder member
and leader of the so-called Shakers, a religious group and offshoot
of the Quakers – men known as brothers, and women as sisters.
During the 1770s Ann had emigrated accompanied by 8 followers
from England to Watervliet, New York in the USA to escape religious
The method of worship she and others followed was one of ecstatic
dancing or shaking; hence they were dubbed in a local newspaper
as “shaking quakers”, later to be shortened, simply,
to Shakers. From around 1772, under her leadership, the group
developed a way of life that rejected marriage and observed
strict celibacy, emphasising a work ethic for which they have
ever since been known, whereby work itself was considered a
form of prayer or worship.
Several Shaker communities grew up around New England notably
in New Hampshire, New York and Maine. Of these settlements,
Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire is one of few and
best physically preserved, still more-or-less intact. (See
As a young woman, Ann’s father had forced her to marry Abraham
Standley, with whom she became pregnant several times and suffered
miscarriages, only 4 children actually being born and not one
of them lived beyond the age of six. Difficult pregnancies and
the loss of all of her children probably contributed to Ann
Lee’s dislike of sexual relations, and her insistence of
strict celibacy amongst her Shaker converts. Also, she believed
that through celibacy they were emulating the life of Jesus
and that each person could serve God more fully if that energy
were channelled into the community, rather than into personal

Followers of Mother Ann came to believe
that she embodied all the perfections of God in female form,
and she supposedly considered herself to be Christ’s female
counterpart. She preached that sinfulness could be avoided by
not only treating men and women equally but also by keeping
them separated so as to prevent any sort of temptation from
leading to impure acts.
Their distinctive shaking during prayer developed into a rhythmic
group movement and eventually evolved into a full group dance
routine which sometimes went on for hours on end.
There being no children born to the group nor heirs to continue
the practice, they relied on an influx of new members with children
and in offering homes to orphaned children to maintain their
numbers and by the 1840s they had attracted more than 5000 followers.

The last Shaker Sisters at Canterbury were Gertrude, Bertha
and Ethel, who died in 1988, 1990 and 1992, respectively. The
last Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake, Maine, is still (as
of October 2008) comprised of three official Shakers: Sisters
Frances and June, both in their late 70s and early 80s, and
Brother Arnold in his mid-50s. They also have recently gained
a new convert, Sister Sasha who is in her 20s.
Ann Lee herself died in Watervliet on 8th September 1784.

Note: As there were no images
of Mother Ann Lee made during her lifetime, we have included
a rare image here in illustration of Shaker style – that of
Eldress Anna White (1831-1910) of Mount Lebanon, New York.

We are indebted to
Sarah Dunham, Co-ordinator of Educational Programs at Canterbury
Shaker Village, New Hampshire, USA, for supplying additional
information and guidance in writing this entry.


Kirsty Howard

(Born 1995)
Little Kirsty Howard, born 20 September 1995, has become the
face of the Francis House Hospice in Parrs Wood Road, Didsbury.
The past few years have seen this very seriously ill little
girl help raise over £3 million for the hospice, and in
the process meet with and captivate celebrities from the world
of television, pop music and sport.
Sadly, as home to many poorly and terminally ill children, the
hospice receives only around 4% of its funding from the local
Health Authority, and the additional 96% is dependent upon gifts
from voluntary donations. The annual running costs are £1.4
million a year.
Since Kirsty’s parents agreed to allow her to front the massive
campaign to raise £5 million and thus secure the future
of Francis House, she has tirelessly worked to publicise the
appeal and has highlighted the plight of the poorly children.
Kirsty was born with a rare inoperable heart condition – her
heart is back to front, so that all her other organs are misplaced
and she has only a single pumping heart chamber. Kirsty has
had nine cardiac procedures and her day-to-day living is severely
restricted by abnormal blood vessels developing in her lung.

In February 1999 she was given six weeks to live but is still
fighting. She has already, by the age of 8, raised over £3
million to date, despite being terminally ill. In the process
this little girl became a celebrity in her own right and stole
the nation’s heart when, clutching David Beckham’s hand, she
presented the Jubilee baton to Her Majesty the Queen at the
2002 Commonwealth Games at the City of Manchester Stadium. Many
high profile stars of theatre, music and film have leant their
names to the appeal, including, Dame Judi Dench, Terry Wogan,
Lorraine Kelly, Bryan Robson, Carol Smilie, Joanna Lumley, Burt
Reynolds, David & Victoria Beckham, Russell Watson and Amanda
The Kirsty Howard Appeal succeeded in achieving its £5,000,000
goal on the 28 October 2006.

Michael Levy

Michael Levy
(Photo Courtesy of and ©
Michael Levy)

(Born 1945)
Michael Levy was born in Manchester on the 6th March 1945. Following
a successful business career he retired to live in Florida in
the USA in 1992 and in 1998 he established Point of Life Inc
, as a vehicle to project and promote his personal life philosophy.
Today his website and his Point of Life Global Newsletter are
visited and read by thousands of people around the world every
Michael is a frequent speaker on American radio and television
and he is now a host on Voice America Radio. He also holds frequent
seminars sharing and discussing his views about the purpose
and meaning of life.
In just a few years he has become a well known poet and in 2002
he became a member of the Templeton Speaker’s Bureau.
Michael Levy has thus far published four books: ” What
is the Point: “Minds of Blue, Souls of Gold”, “Enjoy
Yourself – It’s Later Than You Think” and “Invest
with a Genius” , and his poetry and essays can now be found
on many websites and in journals and magazines throughout the
According to Levy, h is personal philosophies have now become
“…a major source of Truth, Wisdom and Love for many people”.
. The Royal College of Psychiatry has recently published three
of his works.
More of Michael Levy’s thoughts and beliefs can be found on
his website at:

Richard Mather

Richard Mather was born in 1596 to Thomas and Margaret Mather,
in the Lancashire district of Lowton (now part of Wigan MBC)
and was to become a famous figure in the earliest history of
the American colonies. Richard was educated at nearby Winwick
Grammar School, and at the age of 15 became a schoolmaster in
Toxteth, (now a district of Liverpool).
He was ordained as a priest in 1620 and he preached his first
sermon on 30th November 1618 at the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth
in Park Road. Being a strict and outspoken Puritan, however,
he soon found himself inevitably in conflict with Church of
England doctrines and was suspended from preaching nonconformity
in the Church of England by the Archbishop of York. Richard
therefore decided to pursue his religious convictions and, like
the Pilgrim Fathers before him, emigrated to Massachusetts in
1635. From then unto 1669 he was pastor of the Congregational
Church in Dorchester, (now part of Boston), and went on to establish
a large and influential family in the district.
The Reverend Richard Mather died in Dorchester, Massachusetts
on the 22nd April 1669.
One of his sons, Increase Mather, was to become President of
Harvard University, and Richard’s grandson, Cotton Mather, became
a noted scholar, publishing nearly 500 books and articles on
scientific subjects. Cotton Mather was also the first American
to be elected a member of the Royal Society. During the smallpox
epidemic of 1721 Cotton was also the first recorded American
to attempt the controversial procedure of treatment by inoculation
on his own son. For this he was bitterly castigated from all
sides, and threats were even made against his life, but his
son recovered and the procedure was vindicated.
Richard’s eldest son participated in the notable Salem Witch
Trials of 1692 and became President of Yale University.

Thomas Henshaw

(Born?- Died 1810)
Philanthropic Oldham
born businessman, Thomas Henshaw, left a £20,000 legacy
that laid the foundations of over 160 years of support for blind
and visually impaired people, and was to become Henshaw’s Society
for Blind People. Originally known as the “Blind Asylum”
and dedicated to help ‘the Indigent Blind’, it retained this
title until 1971, when the premises were taken over by Greater
Manchester Police as their regional headquarters, and the new
Henshaw College was built in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Henshaw also
founded the Bluecoat School in Oldham in 1834 for the education
of the poor boys of that township.


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This page last updated 3 Jan 12.