ONE of the unsung heroes of the Booths’ fire tragedy was a young woman.
Minnie Coletta, from the well-known Huddersfield ice-cream factory family, rescued one of the terrified women who leapt from the blazing factory.
And her prompt actions in lifting her into the back of her black London cab and driving her to the former Royal Infirmary in Portland Street saved the girl’s life. The girl was Barbara Chadwick, who had suffered appalling injuries but recovered.
Afterwards Miss Coletta calmly drove home to her family’s home in Bradford Road, Hillhouse, for tea, without telling anyone what she had done.
It was only later when a police officer called at the house that her actions were uncovered.
Miss Coletta’s niece, Linda Coletta-Whiteley, of Almondbury, said: “She never wanted any fuss made about it.
“She didn’t tell anyone in the family until the police called round to see her. Minnie, who was properly known as Domenica, arrived in Huddersfield from Italy aged just 13 to live with her grandfather, Camillio, who with his brother had ice-cream factories in Bradford Road. She worked at the factory and later went on to drive an ice-cream van before also buying the black cab and starting her taxi business. She was a real character.”
An Examiner report on Miss Coletta quoted Barbara Chadwick’s mother, Mrs C Sykes, as saying: “We think what Miss Coletta did was splendid. Barbara owed her life to her and we are all very grateful.”
Miss Coletta died 10 years ago.