Mum's charity work remembered

MEMORIES came flooding back for one Hartlepool resident when the Mail published its Gulf War anniversary supplement.

And uppermost among them were those of his mum who raised 78,000 as a charity volunteer.

Town man Wally Henderson was quick off the mark to tell us that our four-page spread – published last week on the 20th anniversary of the outbreak of war - included his mum, the late Mrs Hilda Henderson who was pictured with fellow residents of Kensington Court in Hartlepool.

Wally, from Seaton Carew and a former worker in the Hartlepool Mail's composing room, said: "It was a surprise and a pleasure to see an old photograph of residents of Kensington Court.

"Second from the right was my mother who lived there for 18 years.

"She was a tireless worker for Oxfam in their shop, firstly in Murray Street and then in York Road, Hartlepool She raised 78,000 was raised from the goods she produced at home in her spare time in her flat in Kensington Court over many years."

Hilda's tremendous efforts involved her going round all the curtain and wool shops in Hartlepool to collect cloth remnants and odd balls of wool.

Wally said: "She would make peg bags, shoe bags, tea cosies, aprons and cushions which were sold not only in the Hartlepool Oxfam shop but also in the other 17 Oxfam shops in the Cleveland and district area."

Hilda died from a stroke aged 93 in November 1997, and Wally said: "She was a truly remarkable person for Oxfam and other good causes in the town."

Our supplement also held work-related memories for Wally who recalled: "I was employed as a phototypesetter in the composing room at the Mail at the time.

"I got a phone call from my overseer in the early hours of the morning of January 17, 1991, telling me that the Gulf War had started and that I had to get into work as soon as possible.

"A Gulf War special edition of the Mail was to be published and had to be on the newsagents' shelves as soon as possible.

"Myself and other Mail employees had been waiting for that phone call for some considerable time. Knowing what was happening in the Gulf at the time, it came as no surprise when it eventually came.

"I retired from the Mail in 1992 after working there for 42 years. Happy memories."