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My Dudley dad's big pools win

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 25, 2014

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IN The Bugle (February 27 edition) readers were asked: "Did you or anyone in your family ever enjoy a win on the pools?"

I was the youngest of six children born to Mary and Ernie Marson in Dudley, the heart of my beloved Black Country.

My story begins late October 1949 at home with Mom and Dad. I can remember that Dad was not himself; he seemed nervous and tetchy as he sat in his favourite chair reading.

Mom called the three of us into the kitchen and whispered: "There's a man coming to see your Dad," she said. "When he comes I want the three of you to go out and play in the garden 'till he's gone."

"What's he coming for?" I asked. Mom said: I'll tell you all about it when he's gone."

After a while there was a loud knock on the front door. Dad's mystery visitor had arrived. Heeding the nod from Mom the three of us went out of the back door while she went to the front.

We went around the side of the house and in the street we saw a big car that was parked by our front gate. Jean looked puzzled.

When I think back now the only car we saw like that was one driven by our family doctor.

Glad said: "I don't know for sure, but I think our Dad's won a lot of money." And won a lot of money he had! £3,104.12s.2d to be exact.

A nice little pickup today but back in 1949 it was a fortune! It was enough to buy a few houses. And when I consider that, back then, Dad's weekly wage was about £7 I'm amazed that the day after receiving his win he was back at the pit for his shift at 6am.

Dad's good fortune hardly changed him at all. He did buy a car and we did have seaside holidays regularly. But he carried on his job at the pit and had his few pints at his favourite pub, the Sir Robert Peel in Salop Street. His life changed very little.

A week or so before Christmas he left the Robert Peel at 10.15pm and walked towards home. In a lonely spot at the junction of Salop Street and Nith Place he was attacked by two men. They had heard of Dad's win and thought he would be carrying a pocketful of cash. They were wrong.

At home Mom was getting concerned. It was 11.30pm and Dad was still not home. He usually came in at about 10.45pm. She rushed to answer a loud knock on the door and a policeman told her what had happened.

Mom cried: "Is he all right?"

The policeman smiled. "He's fine, love," he said. "He's at the station making a statement, it's the other two who need hospital treatment!"

The lung disease that he got from working so long on the coalface finally took his life in 1973.

Ernie Marson,

24 Swan Lane, Wordsley.

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