Remembering victims of mining disaster

Edge Green Lane, Ashton In Makerfield Mining Disaster is to be remembered with a memorial on Edge Green Lane on the land oppostire The Harrow Inn pub
Edge Green Lane, Ashton In Makerfield Mining Disaster is to be remembered with a memorial on Edge Green Lane on the land oppostire The Harrow Inn pub

The victims of a horrific mining disaster will be given a new permanent memorial in a prominent public place in a ceremony next month.

Plaques are being put on benches to remember the 10 men who lost their lives as a result of the Golborne pit disaster almost four decades ago.

The memorials will be placed around Peter Kane Square in Golborne along with another plaque commemorating the life of well-known local boxing champion Eric Billington.

A ceremony will be held on July 1 to reveal the new remembrance objects following a joint effort between the Golborne Ex-Miners Association and ward councillors.

Three men were killed instantly when a devastating underground explosion ripped through the coal face at Golborne Colliery in March 1979 with seven more succumbing to their injuries in hospital.

The plaques were arranged after Golborne elected representatives Coun Stuart Keane and Coun Yvonne Klieve visited the meetings of the group for former miners.

Eric Foster from the ex-miners association said: “Coun Keane suggested getting plaques made and fitting them to the benches in Peter Kane Square.

“I think it’s lovely. These lads will never be forgotten.

“We feel it’s our duty and responsibility to keep their memories alive.

“The families really appreciate it because they lost a husband, a father, a brother that day through no fault of their own.”

The ceremony will be a fairly simple affair aimed largely at the relatives of the 10 disaster victims and their former colleagues at the colliery, though members of the public are welcome to pay their respects as well.

The deadly blast 38 years ago was caused after a broken ventilation shaft led to a build-up of methane gas, which ignited after an electrical circuit test.

Coun Keane says the horrendous event is still remembered vividly in Golborne, with huge numbers turning out for the remembrance ceremonies each year.

The ceremony on July 1 also commemorates another local hero in the shape of fighter Eric, one of whose bouts was against Peter Kane after whom the square is

named.

Coun Keane said: “The pit disaster is a big thing for Golborne.

“There’s a big parade every five years which is always well attended and the male voice choir events in the church we’ve started arranging are usually sold out.

“Everyone knows someone who was involved. The idea of the plaques has gone down well and the ex-miners are very pleased.

“There will be two plaques on each bench in the square for the miners and I’ve also done an additional one for Eric because his family asked if I could after he passed away.

“He emigrated to Canada but was well known in Golborne.”