A miner’s life for nurse Marie
A FORMER nurse looked back on her 22 years treating countless injured Maltby miners – and said: “Coal has been my life.”
Retired Marie Horner (87) tended to everything from coughs and colds to broken bones in her time at the pit from 1956.
Marie, of Millindale in Maltby, said: “My cousin told me there was a job going at the pit. They wanted a nurse, so I went for an interview at Todwick.
“There was a big round table with all these men and just me. They said: ‘Now, do you know about mining? Do you know any miners?’
“I said: ‘How long have you got?’ My great-grandads, my grandads, my uncles, my cousins, my husband, my dad, all were miners.
“I had trained at the City General hospital in Sheffield, which is now the Northern General, and I lived for four years at Doncaster Gate.”
She added: “Mum told me that her grandma had done the same job at another pit and when a miner was injured they’d put him in a barrel and wheel him to her to bandage him up or whatever she needed to do.
“Imagine that! I ended up doing the same thing, but they didn’t bring them in barrels to me!”
Marie said there was no such thing as a typical shift because of the range of treatment employees might need during any given shift at the pit, which closed in 2013.
She was even deployed to Doncaster Gate Hospital to help injured miners from Silverwood after the paddy mail crash which killed ten men and injured 29 in February 1966.
“You never knew what was going to happen from one minute to the next in that job,” said Marie. “I did all feet treatment, athlete’s foot. They would come in for bandaging, medicines, coughs, colds, plastering, stitching or sending to hospital. I used to deal with them if they were badly injured.
“There was lots of crying. It broke my heart. They were such wonderful men. They never would swear in front of me. They were so polite, so courteous.
“I never bought any vegetables, they grew it all from their allotments and their wives baked me cakes, pastries, you name it.”
The most difficult part of the job came when Marie needed to inform family members that a colliery worker had passed away.
She said: “I could go on forever with all the terrible accidents we had to the lads. I had to go and tell their wives and children that daddy had died.
“There was one man working in our offices who came with me once and he said: ‘Sister, don’t ever ask me to go with you again. It’s heartbreaking.’
“It was. I knew because my grandad had been killed down Dinnington pit. He was only 56.”
Marie added: “It’s my life. Coal has been my life, anything to do with coal. Everyone, my friends, grew up with it. My first boyfriends were all to do with mining. I used to go with my dad, when he used to get his money on a Friday.”