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Pontefract Letters Page

KATHLEEN HAIGH REMEMBERED

ADDED 19 DECEMBER 2006

I would like to give you my version of this lovely lady and pay tribute to my dearest, kindest friend, whose sudden and sad loss was reported in the December 2006 issues of the Pontefract and Knottingley Digest magazines.

I myself, like Kathleen’s husband Maurice, was born in Knottingley but moved to Pontefract when small. Although I was a couple of years older than Kathleen, we grew up together in Tanshelf. We became good friends when Kathleen and Maurice, and myself and Keith, were courting. Keith lived in Ferrybridge and Maurice in Knottingley, so Kath and I would go on the bus together to their homes and meet on the return journey home. Kathleen and Maurice got married in 1958 and Keith and I the following year. We became firm friends, in fact, as each of our children were born, we doted on each other’s kids, mine adopting her as Aunty Kath and likewise her three adopting me as their Aunty Mag. I can honestly say I loved her children and she loved mine.

> Kathleen was a lass who could put her hand to anything, making chair covers for her own home and those of her many friends, as well as knitting. She was a smashing cook and baker, which was a delight to any palate. I remember being late for work many an afternoon while waiting for her delicious Cornish pasties to come out of the oven so that I could take one to work for my break; so yummy! She would also boil hams and bake lovely bread-cakes, which were super.

We had to scrimp and scrape a lot in those days but Kath was a terrific manager in the household and everyone was always made welcome. We seemed to be always laughing and having fun, but that’s not to say we never fell out because sometimes we did - life’s like that - but we always managed to get over it and even make a joke of what we had done.

After my husband Keith died young, Kath and Maurice were absolutely great to me and my children. They would take us on days out with lovely picnics etc. She would even help decorate my home and with any household jobs. She loved cleaning and was very house-proud.

I remember we’d save a few bob out of our housekeeping money and Kath, Maurice and I would have a good evening out for about ten bob which was a lot in those days. If I were to tell about all our past events I’d fill books and still not have covered everything, as Kath was the one who remembered all the details. She never forgot anything.

When I married John, my second husband, Maurice and Kath really liked him and in fact Maurice even went to a job that John had obtained for him at the power station. We had some good times, and yes, some not so good as everyone does, but Kath had a way of making light of the down times, getting you laughing at the daftest and sometimes not so funny things. The times we have sat chatting and been in stitches in her home with Maurice bringing us a cuppa and a sandwich, then leaving us to it, were so many. Sometimes we talked until way after midnight, and then I’d stay the night. I always felt like one of the family as I was always told it was an open door for me by both of them.

When my husband John was killed at Knottingley Chemical Works in 1969, Kath and Maurice were bricks. They did so much for me and my family. I could not have gotten through sometimes had it not been for Kathleen, Maurice and their children. They were such true and caring friends who were always there for me day or night. They treated me like their own and I pay tribute to that.

I only wish I could have been more like her. But I loved her so much and she always said she did not need telling because she knew. I will never ever forget her or the times we spent and shared together. Kath used to say, “Mag, we could write a book of our lives”, and added, “It’ll be a best-seller!”

I just wanted you to know what lovely caring people Kathleen and Maurice always were.

Margaret Penny


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