WIGAN’S last mining disaster added extra poignancy to a moving ceremony
At noon on Monday, Wigan MPs past and present joined the Mayor plus councillors and union activists for the third annual Workers Memorial Day at Mesnes Park.
This year, the 35th anniversary of the Golborne Pit Disaster, saw the occasion supported by representatives of its former miners and representatives of the still-grieving families.
The event was a commemoration of all those who have died, been injured, or suffered illness as a result of their employment.
Members of the public were invited to join organisers The Friends of Mesnes Park to lay a rose in memory of someone they know who has been killed or injured.
Or, such as the borough’s many former Turner Brothers asbestos workers, in remembrance of working people who have died as a result of their work.
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, who attended with her precessor Neil Turner, said: “More people in the UK die at work than at war. There are too many families in Wigan with loved ones who have come back from work ill, injured, or at worst, not at all.”
Co organiser Sue Turner, the former Swinley ward councillor, was a Labour activist newly arrived in Wigan when news of the disaster rocked the town.
She can still remember the feeling of shock and the waves of sympathy for the mining families which shook the borough’s wider union movement and kick started a mass cash collection for the devastated families of the victims.
It would eventually top more than £30,000.
The procession gathered around the Canadian Red Maple tree planted in 2012 by then Mayor of Wigan Joy Birch for some specially chosen words and a period of contemplation.