Denaby comes together in memory of pit disaster victims

Irene Brown, the oldest surviving relative unviel the new memorial at the Cadeby Main Colliery Disaster service at Denaby Cemetery. Picture: Andrew Roe
Irene Brown, the oldest surviving relative unviel the new memorial at the Cadeby Main Colliery Disaster service at Denaby Cemetery. Picture: Andrew Roe

The unveiling of a permanent memorial in Denaby Cemetery to the lives of 91 men who died in the Cadeby Main disaster was a proud and poignant moment for the village

On Sunday hundreds of people marched in dignity to remember one of Yorkshire’s most terrible mining disasters 100 years after the event.

Vice chair of the Cadeby Main Memorial Group Jim Reeve told the Times: “It was a fantastic and moving occasion. There were between 5-600 people involved and they did the town proud.”

The parade mustered at Pit Lane and marched to Denaby Cemetery, led by the Dodworth Colliery Band.

Banners were held aloft by the Mines Rescue Service and pupils of DeWarenne Academy who had made their own huge banner.

Joining the parade was HM Lord Lieutenant , David Moody, the Bishop of Hallam Right Rev John Rawsthorne, The elected mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies, the civic mayor of Doncaster Coun Christine Mills and MP Caroline Flint.

A minute of silence was observed at the Denaby Miners’ Memorial Chapel.

Mr Reeve added: “At the cemetery the atmosphere was very special and moving. Thurnscoe Harmonic Male Voice Choir sang ‘Gwahoddiad’ and Denaby vicar Rev Reg Davies opened the service.

A roll-call of all 91 victims of the disaster was made by Rev Davies and Geoff Lovell of the Cadeby Main Memorial Group, followed by a rendtion of‘Abide With Me’.

Mr Lovell made a speech dedicated to the victims of the disaster and he and Mrs Irene Newton, 94, the longest surviving relative of the disaster victims, unveiled the memorial.

Conisbrough poet Benny Wilkinson recited his poem ‘Memorial Most Worthy’, followed by the laying of wreaths.

The service was finished by Thurnscoe HMVC who sang ‘When I survey the Wondrous Cross’. Mr Reeve added: “It was one of the most moving days of my life, particularly as I spent many years of my life involved in the pits and had measured up after fatal accidents myself. There were people from all over the world who attended . People thanked the memorial group who managed to get this memorial after all these years , all who have been fantastic in their own ways”.

At the Denaby Miners’ Welfare Club, a reception was held, with the sale of mining books and memorabilia.

On Monday a further service was held at the Miners’ Chapel held by Rev Davies attended by the Bishop of Doncaster.

The memorial at Conisbrough Cemetery was then dedicated at 11.30am, the 100th anniversary of the second disaster which claimed the lives of 53 rescuers. A reception was held afterwards at Conisbrough Ivanhoe Centre.

On Saturday a service attended by 40 people was held at Mexborugh Church in memory of four miners from the town buried in Mexborough Cemetery.