Thursday, 6 October 2011

News - Memorials are unveiled to men who died down the pit (

TWO memorials to Notts miners who died while at work have been unveiled.

A restored mine car, which was used to transport dirt and coal from the mine, has been revealed on the green in the centre of Calverton.

And an 8ft sandstone Davy lamp, which was used by miners, now sits in Bilsthorpe next to the post office.

The memorial in Calverton was unveiled at a commemoration ceremony for the 18 miners who died at the pit, which closed in 2005.

The ceremony also included a reunion for miners who worked there.

Ex-miner Michael Lloyd, 66, of Calverton, said it was an extremely emotional and enjoyable day.

A member of the Calverton Colliery Memorial Trust, he said: "It was a fantastic occasion and everyone I spoke to thoroughly enjoyed it. There must have been about 300 people there and we listened to Calverton Brass Band and sang along to the miners' anthem.

"The Trust funded the restoration of the mine car itself by appealing for donations from local businesses and by holding fundraising events."

The mine car is mounted on bricks which were donated by local business Ibstock Bricks, and the brass plaque, which explains the function of the car, was donated by Focus Engineering of Bingham.

The car had been lying in undergrowth at Patching's Farm, Calverton, until it was donated to the Trust.

The memorial in Bilsthorpe was unveiled on Tuesday to commemorate the lives of the 77 miners who died while working at the colliery – 76 men and one woman.

The memorial is an 8ft sandstone Davy lamp, representing the lamps which miners used to detect poisonous gases in the pit.

It was unveiled by Patricia Jennings, whose husband's uncle died in the first disaster at the colliery in 1927, and Paul Smith, a miner who survived the last disaster in 1993.

Mrs Jennings, 77, of Wellow, said: "It was a very emotional occasion because many of the people who came to see the unveiling had lost relatives in mining disasters.

"The monument is truly remarkable and I thought it was lovely how the school children played a part – it keeps the memory of the miners who died alive in a new generation."

Bilsthorpe Heritage Society was the driving force behind the project and the creative drawings for the memorial were designed by children from Crompton View Primary School in Bilsthorpe.

The £14,000 project was funded by Notts County Council's Local Improvement Scheme.
Trevor Goodman, chairman of the Heritage Society, said the idea for the memorial was first discussed three years ago when a headstone was dedicated to 14 men who died in the 1927 disaster.

Mr Goodman added: "This memorial means so much to the people of Bilsthorpe and I'd like to thank the Local Improvement Scheme for making it possible. Mining used to be the life of the village and since the colliery closed there is nothing in the village to say it existed.

"Villagers can now pay their respects to the brave men and woman who died and it gives the children of the village some sense of heritage and identity."

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