I recently visited the site of the former Silverhill colliery, just over the county border in North Notts, to photograph a wonderful commemoration to ex-miners, a brilliant statue cast in bronze, that sits high above ground level on top of the re-contoured pit tips.
The figure depicts a pit deputy holding up his flame safety lamp testing for gas, or at least it used to.
Some mindless idiots have damaged this wonderful sculpture beyond repair by sawing off the lamp.
What is wrong with these people? What have they gained from this mindless piece of vandalism?
A few quid from the sale of an easily recognisable piece of scrap or just the satisfaction of mutilating a marvellous bit of nostalgia, and in doing so insulting every ex-miner.
Though geographically in north Notts, Silverhill pit offered employment to many North Derbyshire miners when Williamthorpe closed in 1970, particularly men from the North Wingfield and Pilsley area.
I feel that these men and every other old collier has been violated.
I am a big believer in making the punishment fit the crime.
I suggest that the perpetrators should be given a shovel apiece, and made to chuck out a 10 yard 2 foot stint in the three quarter seam, a gruelling punishment, but a task that would have been performed daily by their grandfathers as they toiled in the bowels of the earth to earn their daily crust.
Alas, I feel that those responsible will never be caught.
The affronted statue is located in a remote spot ripe for vandalism.
I urge any pitman to go and take a look at this wonderful piece of work, ‘Testing for Gas’, before it does a vanishing act, limb by limb.