Boost for Barnsley mine memorial plan

Elsecar Steam Railway.
Elsecar Steam Railway.
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Plans to commemorate South Yorkshire’s coal mining heritage have won a televised bid for funding.

A new memorial garden, picnic and play area will be built on part of the former Cortonwood Colliery station in Barnsley after the project secured £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

The boost comes after Elsecar Heritage Railway Limited, which is behind the scheme, made an appeal as part of ITV’s People’s Millions. It was pitted against other projects in Yorkshire on the Calendar news programme before the decision on which got the cash was put to public vote.

Viewers voted in their thousands for the memorial park, which will be situated in the spot that the three-year long miners’ strike began in Wombwell in 1984.

Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “This is a brilliant result for the people of Cortonwood, Wombwell and the surrounding area and shows what groups can achieve when they have the support of their community behind them.”

Elsecar has already begun work to extend its steam railway, once a coal line, to Cortonwood. Proposals for the park include a new station at the four-acre site and developers want to include local mining communities in the build.

Del Tilling, of Elsecar Steam Railway, said: “We aim to remember every South Yorkshire colliery and say thank you to the many generations of coal miners whose toil and sacrifice fuelled our nation for so long.”

Hathersage Parish Council’s Hathersage Skate Park has also featured on the programme.