Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mari Friend ( nee Jenkins) - 1950-53

Strictly illegal! Mari and Myfwany Hoyles boating with Alfie the gardener.

“I have very patchy memories of my time at Craig-y-nos. I know that after the first six months I was allowed up.

Midnight feasts
Mari on the castle roof

“I was one of the naughty ones. We used to have midnight feasts up on the roof. We had lots of fun even though it was a bit of a barracks.

I can’t remember any Christmases or birthdays.

“The only food I remember is that on Wednesdays we had rabbit and mousse. I have hated them ever since.

“I used to smell food after I came out of Craig-y-nos. My mother couldn’t understand it. I wouldn't put anything in my mouth until I had smelt it first.”

Mari (right) with friend on the balcony of Ward 2

“One day a nurse came along and stuck a huge needle in my side. To this day I still don't know what it was for. It was very painful and it never happened again.

"My sister Lleu"
“My sister, Lleu, was older than me and she was in Craig-y-nos at the same time. She talked of deaths in her ward but the children as far as I can recall didn't die.

Life after Craig-y-nos
I don't think the experience effected me afterwards though I do regret not having had proper schooling.”

Mari worked in the retail trade in Wales and then in London in Bourne and Hollingsworth returning later to Wales and training as a nursery nurse.

“As a single parent I had to find a job that fitted in with school holidays.”

Mari (right) with friend in the grounds of Craig-y-nos

She was devastated a few years ago to find she had a recurrence of TB.:”They gave me tablets to take and I just stayed at home.” She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and chronic bronchitis.


Now married again Mari lives a few doors from where she was brought up in Ynsysgwas, Cwmavon. She has one son and two grand-children.

(Mari has an extensive collection of photos from her time in Craig-y-nos).

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