Pulling together to create mining memorial

WHAMM chair Sheila Ramsdale (left) at a fund-raiser for the miners' statue at the Victoria Inn in Aspull
WHAMM chair Sheila Ramsdale (left) at a fund-raiser for the miners' statue at the Victoria Inn in Aspull

A campaign to give Wigan a permanent memorial to the thousands of people who worked in the coal industry is gathering pace.

Wigan Heritage and Mining Monument (WHAMM) has been making significant progress in making a statue commemorating the town’s mining past a reality.

Since launching the campaign in April the group, a branch of Wigan Local History and Heritage Group, has enjoyed a flood of donations from trade unions, businesses and residents.

Plans for the design have already been drawn up with Steve Winterburn, the sculptor behind the Wigan town centre statue of Billy Boston, commissioned.

The group has also agreed that the memorial, which will consist of a miner, a pit brow lass and a child resting on a plinth made from cobbles of coal, will be placed adjacent to the town hall and the once-famous Wigan Mining College.

Support for the bronze memorial, which will be one and a quarter times life sized, has rolled in with those contributing including the NUM Lancashire and Unite the Union, Heinz and the Earl of Crawford. A launch night, which was attended by Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, Wigan Council deputy leader Coun David Molyneux and miner-turned-parliamentarian Ian Lavery MP, raised more than £1,000.

Pubs across the borough located near former coalfields have also joined the fund-raising, with The Colliers Arms in New Springs and the Victoria Inn at Aspull among those which have contributed.

The Friends of Haigh Woodland Park are also joining in by donating all the proceeds from the crazy golf this Sunday to WHAMM.

A Just Giving page and website are being set up.

To find out more or donate email Sheila Ramsdale at sheila.ramsdale@blueyonder.co.uk