‘Be our guests’ call to miners from pit disaster concert team

‘Be our guests’ call to miners from pit disaster concert team

A MEMORIAL concert in memory of 139 men and boys killed in the Thornhill mining disaster in 1893 is being held in Dewsbury Town Hall next Saturday (July 13).

The organisers are inviting ex-miners from across Yorkshire to be their guests at the musical event.

Entertainment is being provided by the world-famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band and Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choir.

It is being presented by St John’s Masonic Lodge, Dewsbury, which is  calling all former miners and their families to contact them.

Keith Shaw, one of the organisers, said they wanted a big representation from the mining industry to be present on the night.

“There may be no more working pits left in Britain but this doesn’t mean we should forget those who once worked in them,” he said.

“Dewsbury wants to show its appreciation for those who risked their lives on a daily basis working underground.

“This anniversary gives us the opportunity to remember all the coal miners in the district who have also given their lives.

“We may not know all their names but they will be remembered on the night, along with the 139 whose names we do know.

“It will be our last farewell to the great mining industry which once existed in this country. Now it is sadly forgotten.

“We have chosen Grimethorpe Colliery Band,  not only because it is the best brass band in the world, but because it still retains the name ‘colliery’ in its title, which is important to us.”

The Thornhill Combs Colliery disaster occurred on July 4, 1893, and was one of the worst mining disasters the country had ever known. The great loss of life following a huge explosion in the pit shocked the nation and left 65 women without husbands and 220 children without fathers. One woman, Elizabeth Firth, lost her husband and three sons.

Of those who were killed on that terrible day, 52 were young boys who had started at the pit when they were only 11 years old. Some who died were only 12. Most were buried on the same day next to each other in long rows in one area of Thornhill churchyard.

The funerals started at early light, with the melancholy procession of burials continuing until late at night. There are few gravestones or any memorials bearing their names.

Any ex-miners wishing to receive complimentary tickets should contact Lorraine Gledhill on 01274 852200, Eric Firth on 07870 219290 or Keith Shaw on 01924 401928.

Others wishing to attend can book tickets by ringing 01484 225755, online at www.kirkleestownhalls.co.uk, or from the reception desk in Dewsbury Town Hall.

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