Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting at 10 30 a.m. advising of four apologies. He welcomed the guests, particularly the ladies, to this Open Meeting which would be the final Ray Coggan Memorial Meeting.

Under Initial Notices General Secretary Neil Ramshaw gave notice of the A.G.M. on 30th April 2019 with any proposals, motions for discussion to be provided to him by April 23rd latest. He pointed out the number of offices that will need to be filled going forward into next season and asked members to seriously consider stepping forward as individuals or possibly in pairs to fill said vacancies— more discussion at future meetings.

Today’s Speakers were Mr Clive and Mrs Kath Richardson whose talk was intriguingly titled “The Woman Who Didn’t Exist”!!

The joint presentation focussed on a Margaret Burns who was born in 1889 at Whitehaven Cumbria to an ordinary working class family–her father Jacob was a Coal Hewer– and domestic moves to the Durham Coalfield Areas took place early in her life. The story was sad, poignant, dramatic but true and involved a surprising twist at the end. It followed her growing up, losing her mother at the age of four, her father’s remarriage and Margaret’s move into employment as a nursing assistant at the age of sixteen determined not to follow a life of domestic drudgery. However she met her first husband miner John George Purvis, became pregnant, married and started producing babies at regular intervals. The tale then moved onto tragic events in World War One, more babies, death on service, eviction, abandonment and a second dysfunctional marriage. The scene then moved to Manchester with bigamy rearing its head and then a period of domestic stability and the final denouement  of “How The Woman Who Didn’t Exist” became so titled and who died in 1962.

A surprising unexpected twist concluded the talk which was supported by slides and presented in a lively, entertaining and amusing manner.

A number of questions/ comments came from the audience at the end and the Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty two members and eleven guests, mainly ladies, was given by Richard Brooks.




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