Mineworkers remembered at Rotherham service

Chris Skidmore, NUM Yorkshire area chairman, speaks during the service. Picture: Marie Caley
Chris Skidmore, NUM Yorkshire area chairman, speaks during the service. Picture: Marie Caley
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Miners who worked at collieries across the region were remembered at an annual service in South Yorkshire.

Nearly 160 people gathered at Rotherham Minster for the ninth Yorkshire Miners Memorial Service.

The ceremony featured local National Union of Mineworkers branch banners, displaying poignant slogans such as ‘From Obscurity to Respect’.

Meanwhile hymns and readings came from the clergy and the Mayor of Rotherham, Coun John Foden, while music was laid on by the Maltby Miners Welfare Band.

The Maltby colliery was Rotherham’s last working coal mine before being closed last year.

As part of the service, young actors led a drama presentation depicting the sense of loss when disaster strikes, as well as the void left when pits are closed.

The vicar of Rotherham Minster, Rev Canon David Bliss, who blessed the NUM Yorkshire area’s new banner at the service, said: “Whenever a life is lost in industry or in any way it affects a considerable number of people.

“Things like today are an opportunity for us to remember those who have lost their lives, those who were injured and their families, who are still there and will always remember them.”

Union officials made addresses and a procession of wreaths were laid to mark the service and sacrifice of the county’s miners.

Members of the congregation brought their own floral tributes to lay at the altar in remembrance of loved ones.

“Many have commented to me how moving it was to see all the wreaths laid in remembrance,” Canon Bliss added.

Chris Skidmore, NUM Yorkshire area chairman, said the pits were ‘a huge part of daily life for so many’.