Last chance to take your place in Doncaster mining history

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Former miners have just days left to throw their hat in the ring for a place in Doncaster's mining history.

The closure of an exhibition at the Frenchgate Centre will be the last chance for people to put their names down to be included as heads on a statue marking the borough's coal heritage.

Lynne Penketh, Alan Ogden, and Betty Ryn, with a model of the proposed Doncaster mining memorial at the exhibition at the Frenchgate Centre. Picture: David Kessen

Lynne Penketh, Alan Ogden, and Betty Ryn, with a model of the proposed Doncaster mining memorial at the exhibition at the Frenchgate Centre. Picture: David Kessen

But the project will only go ahead if the £135,176 cost of the memorial can be raised through a crowd funding appeal. So far £33,531 has been pledged with less than three months to go. The Free Press is campaigning in support of the monument plan.

The exhibition, called A Rich Seam, runs until Saturday.

Organisers say 50 people have put their name down asking for sculptures of their heads to be included on the monument.

Those 50 will have their photographs taken next week with a decision on the 16 who will be included in the memorial taken taken after that.

There have been 1,176 visits to the exhibition to date.

Artist Laurence Edwards, who is creating the memorial, said: "There has been a great response. I'm really thrilled because most of those responses have been in approval."

Jo McQuade, Culture Business Manager, said: “A Rich Seam has been a great opportunity to talk to more miners and their families from across our mining communities and to hear their stories.

“Some of our visitors have been very emotional because it’s brought back memories of their experiences or loved ones they have lost. Although some of our visitors might not have known the miners featured in the exhibition, their likeness has reminded them of people they’ve known or family members who have passed away. The responses people have given have been overwhelmingly positive.”

“For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to visit the exhibition yet, I’d encourage you to do so before the exhibition closes on Saturday, and see the mock-up of the sculpture because there is nothing better than seeing the sculpture as it is intended – it evokes stronger feelings than viewing it in a photo.”

Cash pledges can be made on the crowdfund site, and donations can be made at the exhibition.

One side of the planned sculpture depicts a six foot bronze figure of a miner, standing in a shaft. On the other side, a number of busts of real miners who worked in the local collieries will be placed inside small alcoves.A total of 18 miners likenesses have already been captured as part of the project. But another 12 are still needed to to fill the structure.

The planned sculpture is intended to be placed in the Waterdale area.

Log onto www.doncastersminingstatue.org.uk to pledge a donation.