Silverwood Logo by John Doxey background photo Mick Carver1900 - 1994

Dedicated to the Miners of Silverwood

History of the Mine


Silverwood Mine

Hollings Lane


South Yorkshire England

Webmaster John Doxey

Main Photos Jonathan Dabs.

Additional content Mick Carver

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1933 PADDY BURKE 2007

"Together we can make a difference!"

A Tribute by John Doxey



Paddy Burke began life  on the 2nd March 1933 in Ticknock, Co Dublin where he grew up. He became a pupil at  Sandyford National School and started work age 14 in the Mountain forestry department. He became very interested in sport in particular running, and this interest was to remain throughout his life.
Paddy like many other Irish people decided to move to England is search of better opportunities in the 1950's, and this led to him seeking those opportunities in Coventry, the East Midlands, Essex, Cumberland,  Manchester, and also the North East. Seeing an advert for miners Paddy then made his way to South Yorkshire. This was to be his last move in his search, and the Rotherham area gained a very valuable addition to the community.

He started his traineeship at Treeton Colliery and then moved to nearby Thurcroft Colliery after completing his initial training at Treeton pit. Paddy, for one reason or another decided to leave the coal industry and was next found at the A. E. I.  Steelworks located on Shepcote Lane as a paint sprayer. He then tried his hand as a cable puller during the construction of the  Parkgate Steel Works.


He married his wife Mary in 1958 and they raised a family of five.


Possibly influenced by a better wage Paddy returned to mining in 1963 and became employed as a faceworker at Thurcroft Colliery. Shortly after this he once again changed the place of his employment arriving at Silverwood in 1963, where he was to remain until his retirement.

Not being the type to sit back and let the World move around him, Paddy became a local union representative at Silverwood, and was there in that capacity during the miners strike of 1984, actively supporting his co-workers in the struggle.


I remember Paddy back in the 1960's seeing him attending Mass at St. Gerard's Church Thrybergh, and always actively engaged in conversation after the service.


Meanwhile Paddy's sporting interest prevailed and he was a member of both the Coventry Godiva Harriers, and also the Rotherham Harriers, taking part in the Dublin Marathon's 1988 and 1989.and also the London Marathon. He also managed local football teams as he had a firm conviction that children should be actively involved in sport, as a means of boosting self confidence, and learning how to work with others as a team, this he believed would enhance their lives and give them a firm base upon which to build a happy successful life.


The village of Dalton became his permanent home where he lived with his wife Mary and their children, and the village gained a man who was to become very actively involved in the local community when he became a Parish Councillor.

Striving to improve the local environment and with a particular emphasis on children he was to work successfully in his position as Councillor for the next forty years.

Retiring from Silverwood in 1986 he continued with his involvement within local politics as he now had more time to concentrate upon that part of his life, and soon became  vice-chairman of the Yorkshire Local Councils Association. By 1994 he was a  Borough Councillor for the Valley Ward and also served on various council committees, and even recently held the   chair of the Wentworth South Area Assembly. In a recent welcome speech to a meeting of the latter Paddy stated " It is my intention, along with my elected colleagues for the Rawmarsh, Silverwood and Valley wards, to bring all communities
together and to contribute to identifying their needs and concerns. This covers issues involving young people, the environment, the local economy, the elderly, education and training. Together we can make a difference!"


He was also an executive member of the National Local Councils Associations.


In 2006 Paddy Bourke was elected as Deputy Mayor of Rotherham in recognition of his achievements in local politics, a great tribute to a great man.

Tragically he was not to be sworn in as mayor at the Rotherham Borough Council's annual meeting on Friday 18th May 2007, fate decreed otherwise, and just eight days away from becoming Mayor he sadly passed away at home on the 10th May 2007 .


In a final tribute ironically held on the day he should have been proclaimed Mayor a Civic Service was held at St. Maryís RC Church, Herringthorpe Valley Road, Rotherham. The Requiem Mass was conducted by Father Peter Hurley, the former Parish Priest at St. Gerardís, Thrybergh, where Paddy attended mass for many years, Father Hurley is now the Parish Priest at St. Patrickís, in Sheffield.


I suppose the term "Man of the People" has been used many times but it is a term that very aptly describes Paddy, he knew the local people and understood perfectly their needs, because he had shared the same life as they, a man who believed " Together we can make a difference."


John Doxey


















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