VIDEO: Tragic miners remembered at Armthorpe service

The names and ages of all 87 miners who died at a Doncaster colliery were read out at a memorial service today.

The men who perished at Markham Main pit between 1920 and 1996, when it closed, were remembered at the Miners Memorial Garden in Church Street, Armthorpe, at noon.

Residents gather for the miners' memorial service in Armthorpe.

Residents gather for the miners' memorial service in Armthorpe.

Former pitmen, families of those who died and civic leaders gathered for the ceremony as names of those who died were read out by people who have a connection to the mine.

Reverend Jan Foden, of Armthorpe Parish Church, led a short service and the Markham Main band also played.

Armthorpe councillor Tony Corden, a member of organisers Armthorpe Memorial Group, said: “It is very important to remember those who worked and died at the colliery. They should never be forgotten.

“This is the third one we have had and they are always well attended.”

Dennis Nowell at the miners' memorial service in Armthorpe.

Dennis Nowell at the miners' memorial service in Armthorpe.

Fellow group member and ex-miner Dennis Nowell, 70, of Armthorpe, added: “It was a dangerous and dirty job. They gave their lives for coal. We have never, ever got to let their names be forgotten.”

Rosemary Richards, 75, travelled from near York to be at the service in honour of her father James Henry, who died in a pit collapse in 1962 aged 53.

She said: “It was awful when it happened, I couldn’t stop crying. The families of those who died still remember. It’s important to remember what they did here.”

Others in attendance, included Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton, town mayor Ros Jones and deputy civic mayor Paul Wray.

Ms Winterton said: “Doncaster has a proud mining legacy. Collieries such as Markham Main were the heartbeat of our communities and many people in this area will have had a family member, or will have known someone, who worked at one of the many pits.

“Unfortunately mining was an unpredictable industry and sometimes there were terrible tragedies. It is important that we remember and pay tribute to those who died at Markham Main and the families they left behind.”

A flag was unveiled at last year’s ceremony in memory of the miners. It is thought to be the only one in England dedicated to miners and was designed by Doncaster College students and members of a memorial group.