I have contacted yet another old friend today. It’s funny but these days, all my friends are old (sorry Don). Anyway – Don is a former Colliery Training Officer (as I am) and he’s writing a book containing amusing mining tales – so here’s one for you…
A few years ago Neil Clarke the then Chairman of British Coal visited Whitemoor Mine in the Selby Coalfield. You have to imagine the power this guy had – not just to sack somebody but to close his pit as well. Every member of the mine’s management was bricking it.
The dubious honour of escorting Mr Clarke (who’s power was one down from God) befell on the Deputy Manager – a Mr Ian Bickerton. Ian was a nice enough lad who I think died very young if my memory serves me right.
Part of the visit underground involved a ride on a train. Mr B said to Mr C – “This is our driver for the day, Schoey… “. I think it’s safe to say that everyone in the mine knew the locomotive driver as “Schoey” which was presumably derived from Schofield. Schoey had probably forgotten he’d ever had a Christian name and Schoey’s Mam was, more than likely, the only one who ever still used it.
Right – back to the introduction…
Mr Bickerton says to Mr Neil Sir God Clarke – “This is Schoey he’s our driver for today”. “Pleased to meet you Schoey” says Mr Clarke offering Schoey his hand. “Pleased to meet you Clarkey” says Schoey warmly shaking Mr Clarke’s hand.
Mr Bickerton couldn’t get Clarkey out of there fast enough. As I said earlier – the management were all quaking in their boots – the workforce – then as now – didn’t give a shit.