The Orphan

A woman is found unconscious in the street with a severe head wound; she is also pregnant.
The woman gives birth to a son but later dies- her dying words was the Name Robin McNally- Police sergeant Bob Cole is out to get McNally a petty thief for murder but he manages to get off in court. The grand parents of the woman bring up the boy as their own. Jackie Boyle has an unusual talent- he has the ability to remember everything he see's. he can read a book in minutes and remember every word. Jackie watches his Grand Mother who he calls mam cooking and when she dies of a stroke is forced to cook and clean so that his father who is really his Grandfather; can go to work down the pit at Battlehill Colliery. The five year old does this until his father is killed in the pit rescuing his friends- Jackie is sent to Oakridge Children's Home where he suffered at the hands of the Matron and the nuns strict regime. The Orphan is a fast paced story that will leave you wanting to read more.

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His father James Boyle, who was also a miner had worked in the pits of Durham before relocating after Meeting his mother Elsie on a day trip dance at the ballroom in Blackpool in the summer of 1890 they were married a year later and had four children his two sisters Maggie and Phyllis both died from scarlet fever when they were only two and three years old. Kevin the eldest was killed in the 1st World War he was just nineteen when he was gassed he ended up blinded and in no mans land where he was shot down by German machine guns.

His father liked to go hill walking and would take Young Willie as he called him with him. Willie was fearless and would often go bounding off on his own and his father would have to give him a stern talking to. They were climbing Blencathra off sharp edge one Sunday morning and as usual Willie was too eager to get up first; he slipped and banged his head off a rock opening a cut on his head that needed six stitches.

Willie would not go down until he had got to the top. His father had to tie two handkerchiefs together then wrap them around his head to stop the bleeding.

“Young Willie pretended to be Geronimo the Apache Indian.

It did teach him a valuable lesson though and he never went charging off again.

“Young Willie left school at thirteen and joined his father down the pit in Preston.

“He loved working with his father but the work was hard and the hours long.

He would be working fourteen hours a day five days a week. For two pounds ten shillings.

His mother doted on Willie after losing her other children and told James not to let anything happen to her boy or she would kill him.

When Willie was eighteen the first strikes took place and it was there that he witnessed fathers and sons falling out over wages and long hours.

They were forced to join the picket lines because of the unions; much to his fathers dislike.

His father never liked the unions and as much as Willie disagreed with his father he never went against him.

There were some father and son relationships ruined because of the unions and strikes and I think that was his father’s main reason for disliking them. James Boyle had seen four Prime Ministers from William Gladstone to David Lloyd George. His father died of pneumosilocosis when his lungs could not get enough air in them due to the inhalation of coal dust. James Boyle was sixty five; he died four months after his retirement when he collapsed feeding his canaries in his shed outside.

“Willie became the main bread winner but his mother still took in peoples washing to make ends meet. They lived off anything they could from broth made from the offal of cows, to pig’s trotters or tripe and onions. They ate lots of fish from the fish quay which kept them strong. Willie never really ailed anything in his life apart from measles, mumps, and chicken pox as a boy. His mother lived until she was eighty two and died peacefully in her sleep. It took Willie a long time to get over his mother’s death.

He met Nelly Brice coming out of the Rex Picture house when she bumped into him as they were coming out after watching a Charley Chaplin silent film.

 They got on so well that he began taking her out and two years later they were married. A year after that and young Brenda was born.

 

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