Way back when, Valentine Postlethwaite worked down’t pit somewhere close to Donny. He was a willey kid, nowt like a proper miner, as his Gran use to say “Our Valentines’ got muscles like knots in cotton and legs like garden canes”.
He worked just off the coal face, shuvelling stuff in to trucks. But Valentines passion helped him through his hard shifts, his passion for giving gifts to the downtrodden ladies of his village, but only once a year, (he wasn’t made of brass) the day of his birthday, 14th February.
Weeks before the big day, Valentine would spend hours making hand made choccies and designing slushy cards with slushy verses. Then the night before his birthday, out he’d trot with his carrier bag full of goodies and deliver them to each and every lady in the village. They all knew it was from him but never let on.
Next morning, Valentine would walk to work listening to the shrieks and yelps with a warm, satisfying skip in his step, it was his perfect birthday present. But the blokes of the village thought it to be a “reight sissy act”. They showed affection to their lass by demanding tea be on’t table by’t time he’d get in, and to wash and iron their Sunday Best so that they could spend a full day down’t pub with their mates. This treatment was tried and tested, after all, it had worked for centuries.
But their moaning didn’t stop Valentine, and his fame spread. Within a couple of years, charabancs full of giggley ladies would be shipped-in every 14th February, looking to be part of this loving atmosphere. Poor old Valentine, he couldn’t let a lady down. So on the run up to his birthday he’d work even harder, making choccies and cards, handing them out to each and every lady every year. But the more gifts he gave out, the more ladies turned up, and eventually the stresses took their toll. On the night before his 42nd birthday, Valentine sadly passed away through exhaustion.
The news was too much for the ladies of Yorkshire who all became down in the dumps, which played havoc with the economy of Yorkshire. The men folk had to act. They agreed that once a year, on 14th February, they would molly coddle their lass, but only if they too got a card and pressie (as they say in Yorkshire “You don’t get owt for nowt”).
So there it is, that’s how St Valentines Day started and it was in Yorkshire. And how did Valentine become a ‘Saint’. Well the ladies of Yorkshire asked Pope Dougie the first, also a Yorkshireman, to canonise Valentine, and as they asked nice like and slipped him a bag of Pontefract Cakes, summat he couldn’t get in the Vatican City, he said “No problem lasses, leave it wi mi, it’s as good as done”.