1999: Gold top heroine

A MILKWOMAN known as Maid Marion lived up to her famous name when she spotted a house fire during her round and led an elderly couple to safety.

Marion Sanderson, whose business is called Maid Marion Dairy, was delivering milk in Oxenholme early on Tuesday morning when she heard a smoke alarm. She opened the letter box of Len and Hannah Fothergill‘s Scar View Road home and could see smoke.

Marion, 45, of Staveley, dashed to the rear of the bungalow and hammered on the bedroom window, waking the couple. Mr Fothergill, 73, managed to get to the door and Marion helped him out before plunging into the smoke-logged building.

“I got him outside and asked where his wife was,” said Marion. “She had got out of the bedroom and was half way through the living room and I helped her out. It was nasty and there was a lot of smoke. They were a bit shocked.”

She admitted she had been reluctant to talk about her good deed but added: “In actual fact it’s quite good for the industry because it reminds people that we are there early in the morning if something like this does happen.”

Marion had also woken neighbours Raymond and Christina Barker. Mr Barker ran round with coats to keep the Fothergills warm and waited at the end of the road to direct the fire engine, while Mrs Barker dialled 999. They then provided everyone with cups of tea.

Mr and Mrs Fothergill were both admitted to Kendal’s Westmorland General Hospital with smoke inhalation and Mr Barker was kept in because of complications with asthma. He was said to be feeling much better later in the week.

“I just want to thank them all,” said Mrs Fothergill, 84, after her ordeal.

The Fothergills’ daughter, Sylvia Newhouse, said the rescue was even luckier because Marion was running late that morning.

Kendal fire officers said the kitchen blaze was probably caused by an electrical fault with a gas-fired boiler.

Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus put out the fire using a hose reel. The blaze was confined to the kitchen which was smoke damaged.

Extracted from Westmorland Gazette, 9 January 1999

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