Former miner’s tales from the pit strike gold with residents

A former miner dug into stories from the coal face with fellow residents at Queen Elizabeth Care Home ahead of the 40th anniversary of the miners strikes.

A former miner dug into stories from the coal face with fellow residents at Queen Elizabeth Care Home ahead of the 40th anniversary of the miners strikes.

George Storey, who wrote a book about his experiences, reminisced with residents at Queen Elizabeth Park, a 77-bed care home in Guildford, which offers personalised residential, nursing, respite, dementia and end-of-life care.

Despite the gruelling nature of the work, George looks back fondly on those days and explained the camaraderie shared with fellow miners.

“I’ve always believed in the power of storytelling and it’s been a privilege to relive those memories and witness the smiles on the faces of my friends here,” said George.

George worked at Linton Colliery near Ashington, Northumberland, for 15 years with 11 of them spent at the coal face where hard physical labour was the norm.

“They were demanding times, but they were also some of the most fulfilling moments of my life,” George said.

“I remember getting back from work and my mother would heat a kettle on the stove and a big pan on the fire to fill the tin bath for me.

“My brother would wash my back for me but I’d have to go outside to fully wash myself even if it was cold and raining.”

The team at the home, who received a ‘Highly Commended’ at the Great British Care Awards in 2023 for ‘Putting People First’, wanted to empower George to share his stories.

They were able to support him to reminisce about his time working in the mines and share his memories with the other residents at the home, who were able to relate to that time.

Stories from his self-published book, The George Storey Collected Works, proved popular with George’s fellow residents who were enthralled by the tales from the pit, especially about Spice, a spirited pony he formed a special bond with.

He said: “I realised Spice liked apples so I would take one down to the pits each day so that I could reward him for good behaviour.

“I remember once I had left an apple in my coat pocket for him and while Spice was working he tried to get it out of my pocket and ended up biting a large hole in my jacket!”

Care home manager Heather De Ninis expressed her admiration for George’s ability to transport listeners to a bygone era with his vivid storytelling.

“George’s tales resonate deeply with everyone here. His stories offer a glimpse into a world that many of us can only imagine, and his presence makes the home a better place for us all.

“His journey serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience and camaraderie that defined the mining community and continues to inspire generations.

“It is hugely important to us here at Queen Elizabeth Park to allow our residents to share their experiences and memories with other residents as well as creating new ones.

“As the 40th anniversary of the miners strike approaches, George’s stories serve as a testament to the strength, courage, and enduring spirit of those who toiled beneath the earth’s surface to power the country.”

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