Schoolchildren sing 'Stand By Me' as more figures unveiled at the Markham Vale Memorial Trail
Relatives of miners who died in two mining disasters attended a moving ceremony to add to a poignant memorial to miners in Derbyshire.
Eight new life-size steel figures forming the latest stage of the ‘Walking Together’ mining memorial were unveiled at Markham Vale.
The cluster of figures commemorates seven men killed in the Markham Colliery disaster on May 10 1938 and one man killed in the disaster on July 30 1973.
Civic leaders mining families and pupils from Duckmanton Primary School made emotional tributes to them at the ceremony close to the Markham Vale Environment Centre.Some family members had travelled from as far away as Australia to pay their respects.
Once completed, the ‘Walking Together’ memorial will take the form of 106 figures stretching between the village of Duckmanton, and the former pithead of Markham Colliery.This walking trail of figures symbolises a miner’s journey to the pit and back home again.
Derbyshire County Councillor Tony King said: “I think these figures are fantastic, so poignant.
"If you listen to the stories and you can understand it was young boys and young men who were killed in these disasters. It is right that we do remember them and we should as long as we can. I want to thank the volunteers who give their time without payment and who make all this possible."This isn’t down to the council it is down to the people of these villages who are prepared to give their personal time to do research and to bring the histories forward.”Pupils from Duckmanton Primary School gathered to sing Stand By Me.
Artist Stephen Broadbent who designed the overall concept said: “It is so important that our communities and places and activities that have happened in them are remembered and we celebrate them. “It is part of our humanity and who we are.
“It is important that the stories of miners walking together to work and the trials that they went through in their working lives, the dependence they had on one another are heard. It’s so
lovely as part of this project instead of the coal it is stories that are being mined, heroic stories.
“The whole of the industrial world was built on what was dug out of the ground here.”