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Statues tribute to pitmen

Posted onPosted on 18th Jan

Stone statues have been erected at the site of a former pit to commemorate miners who died in a major disaster.

The five statues at Brierley Forest Park are in honour of five pit workers who died in an explosion at the former Sutton Colliery in 1957.

The statues have replaced wooden ones that were put up in 2009, but have since deteriorated.

The disaster happened in 1957 when an explosion at the coalface resulted in the five miners losing their lives, while 15 others also suffered serious burns.

The five miners who died were 29-year-old coal getter W. Savage, 55-year-old ripper J.W. Betts, 35-year-old shearer assistance J. Lemm, 45-year-old coal getter L. Reeves and 16-year-old supplies hand J. Godber.

Ashfield District Council pledged to replace the wooden statues and the new ones have been carved by local artist Robert Koing.

Coun Jason Zadrozny, leader of the council, said: “These statues, made out of Stanton Moor, a Derbyshire Gritstone, exactly replicate the old timber ones.
“The stonemason has done an amazing job. They are a remarkable tribute to the five local men who gave their lives for us.

“This work didn’t cost the taxpayer a single penny – all the money came from developers’ contributions.”

Coun Tom Hollis, deputy leader of the council, added: “I still speak to local residents who remember the great Sutton Colliery tragedy of 1957.

“Due to an explosion on the coalface five miners sadly lost their lives with 15 others suffering serious burns.

“I am proud to have worked with park users and residents to have turned timber into stone.

“The stonemason has done an amazing job and replicated exactly the old timber statues.

“These will be on permanent display locally to remind future generations of the sacrifice that miners made for our prosperity.

“It was emotional to see the stone miners in-situ.

“I am proud of the work we did to bring this project to life.”