Albert Sanders was a Deputy at the pit and suffered a major heart attack whilst on shift. First Aiders attended him and Albert’s daughter, Margaret Graham, is very grateful to them because she feels they saved his life there, before he was transported to hospital. She believes that one of the helpers was Alan Brooksbank. Albert had to retire from the pit because of his health and took up painting when he was recuperating. This was initially using a Paint by Numbers kit that was given to him, and it set him on the road to a new hobby.
Albert decided to have a go at his own designs, and worked from his own sketches or from photographs as well as from memory and gained confidence in his ability and his ambition to paint more. He entered some of his paintings in the annual CISWO[i] art competition, and won the Senior prize in that year with a painting of a scene at Gringley Lock.
As well as the winning painting, Albert entered other paintings and Ray Needham placed some photos of these on the Facebook page accompanying this website (Old Rossington Photos). Ray was a bandsman with Rossington Colliery Band and has been a leading light in starting Rossington Community Band. He had intended auctioning the pictures which he had recovered from London, as the band raises money for the Brain Tumour Research charity.
Margaret saw the photos and asked if she could purchase the pictures as she has other paintings done by her father but none of them is of Rossington and these 2 are such views – the Station Hotel and Fountains Cottages. Ray asked her if she would donate to the cause and now she is the owner of the paintings and the charity collection has benefited from her purchase. On seeing the photos, another Friend on the Facebook page, Rachael Simms, posted a photo of another view – looking from the Royal Hotel towards Central Drive. The first 2 were painted in 1987 and her painting was one done by Albert in 1979. It had hung in her father’s house and as he had passed away, she was happy to give her painting to Margaret for her collection as a gift as she felt it was fitting for it to go back to Albert’s family.
Many other people fondly recalled Albert as they had worked with him, and they were happy to see that Margaret and the charity had benefited from the display on the Facebook page.
Another of Albert’s paintings of miners going to work at sunset hung in the National Coal Board’s Industrial Relations office in London (Hobart House) for 6 months. This painting was based on some sketches Albert had done of the setting sun as he had been going to work. Although it was a traumatic experience that the heart attack created, Rossington gained another painter for its artistic community, and some views of Rossington as a result. All of these views have changed since they were painted so they provide a memory of what Rossington was like in the late 70s and 80s.
[i] CISWO is the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation and helps injured miners and those with ill health with activities that help them to recuperate, and additionally, they offer financial help, advice, guidance and support for eligible miners and ex-miners and their families. It has operated convalescent homes too.