Artist looking for 12 more miners' faces to go down in history on Doncaster pits memorial

The hunt is on to find a dozen former Doncaster miners - with the aim of handing them a place in the town's history which will last down the ages.

Friday, 20th July 2018, 10:32 am
Miners walk to their last production shift at Rossington colliery. Picture: Chris Bull, Johnston Press

Sculptor Laurence Edwards has revealed he needs the 12 to complete his planned Doncaster mining memorial - with a bronze bust of each of those selected placed on his proposed £130,000 monument.

A total of 18 miners likenesses have already been captured as part of the project, which will mean their faces have a place in the town's history for future generations to see.

Miners walk to their last production shift at Rossington colliery. Picture: Chris Bull, Johnston Press

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But another 12 are still needed to to fill the structure, which is due to be paid for through a crowd funding campaign, which has already raised in excess of £30,000.

The project is contingent on the money being raised - and it will be down to the public and businesses to pledge the cash for it to happen.

Those former miners selected would see their faces included in the work. And their stories would also be included on a website, which will be accessed via a QR code on the monument.

Artist Mr Edwards said: "I think we've got 18 done - but the work is going to be much larger that the one that is currently on exhibition. It will be around twice the size.

"That means I am now looking for another 12 heads.

"If there are people coming forwards from pits which are not yet represented by any of the miners we've already sculpted, or people from any ethnic minorities that we have not yet represented, we would like to include them. I think it would be great to have a good variety.

"I'm hoping that it will be an extraordinary experience for those who take part. I'm trying to imagine what it would be like for me if me face was put on something like that, to be there for many years. And it's not just their heads - it is a record of their experiences too.

"They're going down in history, the face and voice of their community at a specific place in time."

Anyone who would like to be included in the memorial can leave their details at the current exhibition in the Frenchgate Centre, A Rich Seam.

Those who leave their details would then be photographed.

But before the monument can be built, the money has to be raised through the crowdfunding appeal.

Mayor Ros Jones, a miner's daughter, pledged £30,000 from her own money to start the fundraising, with the total raised now in the region of £33,000. The money has to be raised by October 26.

Pledges can be made on the crowdfund site, and donations can be made at the exhibition.

One side of the sculpture depicts a six foot figure of a miner in bronze, standing in a shaft. On the other side, a number of busts of real miners who worked in the local collieries will be placed inside small alcoves.

The Free Press is backing the plan through our Miners Memorial Campaign.

The planned sculpture is intended to be placed in the Waterdale area, although the final site in that area will go out to consultation nearer the time of its construction.

The exhibition, called A Rich Seam, will be open until August 4, 10am – 4pm (closed Sundays) in Unit 78, Ground Floor, Frenchgate Shopping Centre, Doncaster.

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