MINDLESS SCUMBAGS: Criminals target Markham Vale miners’ memorial

The Walking Together memorial at Markham Vale. Picture: Anne Shelley.
The Walking Together memorial at Markham Vale. Picture: Anne Shelley.

Mindless criminals have targeted a memorial to remember miners who lost their lives at Markham Colliery.

Offenders stole name tags from three life-size steel statues at Markham Vale last Thursday.

Anne Ross, Mr Moreton's daughter Jean Naylor and his son Ralph. Picture submitted.

Anne Ross, Mr Moreton's daughter Jean Naylor and his son Ralph. Picture submitted.

The figures form part of the Walking Together memorial and were unveiled at the site in September.

One of the statues is in memory of Charles Moreton, who died in the 1937 Markham Colliery disaster.

Mr Moreton’s granddaughter Anne Ross, 58, of Hasland, said: “Why do this?

“It’s very upsetting.

Before the statue was targeted. Picture submitted.

Before the statue was targeted. Picture submitted.

“There’s absolutely no need for this mindless act – there are some terrible people out there.

“This is a memorial for many very brave men who lost their lives in awful circumstances.

“It should never be targeted.”

Councillor Anne Western, leader of Derbyshire County Council, added: “We are really shocked and extremely sad that someone has damaged three of the steel figures.

Before the statue was targeted. Picture submitted.

Before the statue was targeted. Picture submitted.

“The police are doing all they can to try to identify who is responsible and we are working with the team which installed the figures to make sure the name tags on each of them are more secure.

“The figures are on display across the whole site so that they are part of the community and can be easily seen by people.

“We don’t want them to be hidden away as that is not the point.

“It is disgraceful that someone has taken advantage of the fact they are easily accessible and damaged them in this way, causing distress and upset to the families of the miners.”

Anyone with information about the crimes should call police on 101.

The Walking Together memorial will eventually feature 106 figures stretching between Duckmanton, Chesterfield and the former pithead of Markham Colliery.

It symbolises a miner’s journey to the pit and back home again and represents the 106 men who lost their lives in three accidents at the site.

Eighteen miners died and 11 others suffered serious injury when the mechanical brake on a lift carrying them to the coalface failed at Markham Colliery on 30 July, 1973.

It was the third disaster at the colliery following accidents in 1937 and 1938 in which 77 miners lost their lives.