At the Coalface: The Memoir of a Pit Nurse

By Veronica Clark

A heart-warming tale of a lady who committed her lifestyles to assisting others. this can be the memoir of Joan, who all started nursing within the Nineteen Forties and whose reports took her into the Yorkshire mining pits and during the tumult of the 1984-85 miners' strike. Joan Hart consistently knew what she desired to do along with her existence. Born in South Yorkshire in 1932, she all started her nursing education whilst she was once sixteen, the youngest age ladies may possibly achieve this on the time. She persevered operating after she married and her paintings took her to London and Doncaster, taking care of young ones and miners. while she took a task as a pit nurse in Doncaster in 1974, she came upon that during order to be authorized via the lads below her care, she must turn into certainly one of them. as a rule rejecting a standard nurse's uniform and wearing a saggy miner's swimsuit, pit boots, a hardhat and a headlamp, Joan resolved continuously to move all the way down to injured miners and convey them out of the pit herself. Over 15 years Joan grew to understand the miners not just as a nurse, yet as a confidante and buddy. She tended to injured miners underground, rescued males trapped within the pits, and supplied help for them and their households throughout the sour miners' strike which stretched from March 1984 to 1985. relocating and uplifting, this can be a tale of 1 woman's lifestyles, marriage and paintings; it really is bound to make readers snigger, cry, and smile.

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Within the blackness, they spoke to me approximately marital difficulties and different concerns. This counselling trend persevered as extra miners sought my suggestion. The extra evening shifts a guy labored, the extra he fretted approximately his spouse straying or having an affair. more often than not, it didn’t occur, yet on a number of events i admire to imagine that my interplay helped shop a couple of marriages. I’d ask if the apprehensive miner will be in a position to paintings day shifts in its place. The miners got here to belief me simply because they knew every thing will be taken care of within the strictest self assurance.

It was once a brand new direction and it taught would-be nurses every thing from scratch, from cooking what we known as healthy ‘invalid nutrition’ to how you can launder sheets and fresh and properly disinfect a room. The cookery classes have been enjoyable however the foodstuff wasn’t as pleased or, certainly, very appetising. We have been taught tips on how to make every thing from junket – a kind of blancmange utilizing bitter cream – to pork broth, and tripe and onions. On one social gathering I forgot to soak my minimize of salt red meat in a single day. the next day to come I ready and cooked my ‘beef tea’ – or broth – as I’d been instructed, seasoning it alongside the best way.

Aye. ’ My middle plunged to my already aching knees as he trigger once again. yet now I’d been relieved of the oxygen tank, i discovered it a lot more uncomplicated to take care of with the enormous deputy supervisor. ‘Not some distance now,’ he known as as I squinted within the dim gentle coming from my headlamp. the place in the world have been they? without certified males to function the underground paddy educate, we walked for one more 20 mins with no preventing. If that guy dies down the following, miles from the pit backside, I’ll bloody kill him, in poor health or now not! I cursed silently to myself.

It was once eventually time for the ‘wrinkly nurse’ to name it an afternoon. 4 years later, in the course of Christmas 1998, Peter, who was once now 70, stuck the flu. while he didn't get better within the New yr, I insisted that whatever used to be fallacious, however the GP wouldn’t pay attention. I demanded that Peter be said the heart specialist at Doncaster Royal Infirmary who had handled him as a personal sufferer. ‘Well,’ the health care professional responded, ‘if that’s what you will have, then I recommend you ask him your self. ’ So I did. I picked up the telephone and rang his spouse, who informed me her husband may name at our apartment on his method to the health center.

With the sacks in my fingers, I strolled earlier policemen, who enquired the place i used to be going. ‘I’m going to choose chickweed for the canaries,’ I defined. ‘I inspiration I’d get a couple of sackfuls whereas it’s quiet. ’ ‘Where do you get it from? ’ one requested. ‘Around the again, by way of the coal tips,’ I stated, pointing in the direction of the rear of the construction. ‘Oh no, we can’t allow you to move round there,’ the officer insisted, rolling back and forth at the balls of his ft, together with his arms clasped in the back of his again. ‘Why ever no longer?

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