Mining history group wants community to help raise statue funds

Coun David Molyneux, WHAMM chair Sheila Ramsdale, councillors, members of WHAMM and supporters of the mining statue appeal
Coun David Molyneux, WHAMM chair Sheila Ramsdale, councillors, members of WHAMM and supporters of the mining statue appeal

A local history group is calling for the local community to pool together to permanently commemorate Wigan Borough’s mining history.

Wigan History and Mining Monument (WHAMM), is raising money to fund a statue featuring a miner, pit brow lass and a child, which will sit near Wigan Town Hall - the borough’s former mining college.

Wigan Council’s Brighter Borough pot has contributed twoards the £40,000 raised so far with a number of councillors from Wigan and Makerfield wards giving some of their annual community funding towards the project.

Sheila Ramsdale set up WHAMM, which is a branch of Wigan Local History and Heritage Group and commissioned Hull-based sculptor, Steve Winterburn whose most recent work locally includes the Billy Boston statue on Believe Square.

Sheila said: “I set up a local history and heritage group around five-years ago with my late friend Anne Catterall and we were extremely passionate about getting a mining statue in the town centre.

“Just before she passed away two years ago, I promised her I’d do my best to make this happen, which marked the beginning of WHAMM.

“We need £150,000 to fully fund the project and we’ve already had so many generous donations, including £7,000 from Brighter Borough and even an anonymous £30,000.

“We’re so thankful for the support we’ve received so far and for the help we’ve received from our trustees, including the deputy leader the council and Lisa Nandy MP.

“Ideally, we’d like the statue installed in the next couple of years but of course, the sooner we can raise the money, the sooner we can get the work started!”

WHAMM has been a registered charity since January and has received other donations from the likes of Heinz, the National Union of Miners and more.

The deputy leader of Wigan Council, Councillor David Molyneux said: “Wigan Borough’s incredible coal mining history should be remembered for years to come. “Unfortunately, as more years and generations pass this can be forgotten, so it’s our duty to teach our young people about their town’s heritage and the history of their grandparents and great-grandparents.

“Wigan Borough is filled to the brim with proud residents and it’s because of this I urge everybody to donate as much or as little as possible.”

If you’d like to donate to the page, visit www.wiganminingstatue.org.uk where you will find a link to the group’s JustGiving page.