Miners memorial planned for 54 'brave souls' who died at Thorne Colliery

Doncaster Councillors Susan Durant and Mark Houlbrook, pictured with members of the Thorne and Moorends Colliery Monument Committee
Doncaster Councillors Susan Durant and Mark Houlbrook, pictured with members of the Thorne and Moorends Colliery Monument Committee
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A community in Doncaster is being asked to dig deep and fund a monument to the miners upon whose toil it was built.

Thorne Colliery only operated for 30 years, but the village of Moorends owes its existence to the prosperity and influx of workers it brought to the area.

Thorne Colliery

Thorne Colliery

Most people living in Thorne and Moorends today have some connection with the pit, which closed for good in 1956, and many have ancestors who tragically died grafting there.

A campaign is now underway to erect a statue commemorating the area's proud mining heritage.

Celebrated sculptor Graham Ibbeson has been appointed to create the monument, which will stand outside The Hedgerow Children's Centre in Moorends, on the site of the old miners' welfare club.

To fund the construction, people and businesses are being asked to purchase bricks for a 'memory wall' at the site enshrining the buyers' links with and recollections of the colliery.

Around 100 bricks have already been snapped up but many more must be sold to ensure the monument is built.

Edith Wake is secretary of the Thorne & Moorends Colliery Monument Committee, which was formed a year ago by a handful of members with close ties to the old mine.

"This is our heritage. Moorends village was built as pit houses and it grew up around the colliery," she said.

"It's really important to commemorate our history and remember all those who worked at the colliery and in particular the 54 brave souls who lost their lives doing so.

"We hope it will give the people of Moorends and Thorne something they can take pride in."

Thorne Colliery opened in 1926 and hundreds of homes were built to house the growing workforce of 4,000 and their families.

One of its claims to fame is that it reputedly boasted the largest banner belonging to any branch of the mining union, measuring 3mx3m, which survives today.

The mine closed in 1956 and, following doomed efforts to revive it during the 80s, the pit head gear which had been a familiar landmark for drivers using the M18 was eventually demolished in 2004.

The monument committee says its plans have the backing of the three district ward councillors, John Blackham, Susan Durant and Mark Houlbrook, along with local MPs Ed Miliband and Caroline Flint.

The memorial's design and the material which will be used remain a closely guarded secret but Ms Wake said the committee intends to reveal a model this spring showing how it will look. If all goes according to plan, she said the full-size statue should be unveiled within the next year.

To buy a brick for the memory wall, priced £25 including a short inscription of your choice, call the monument committee on 0752 2593 565, email thornemoorendscolliery_mc@yahoo.com or visit the Thorne & Moorends Colliery Monument Committee Facebook page.