One legacy helps another

Pat, Alan and Sarah Farnworth present a cheque for 500 to secretary of Red Rose Steam Society Mike Shardlow

Pat, Alan and Sarah Farnworth present a cheque for 500 to secretary of Red Rose Steam Society Mike Shardlow

The high-flying son of a former miner has made a generous donation to the enthusiasts running the pit where he once worked as a museum.

Alan Farnworth, his mum Pat and daughter Sarah presented £500 to the Astley Green Colliery Museum in memory of father Roy after raising the money by selling his collection of DIY tools.

Roy started work at Astley Green in 1957 as an apprentice mechanical engineer and maintained the equipment, including the mine shaft headgear and steam winding engine, until 1968.

He left the colliery two years before it closed to move to British Aerospace in Bolton but son Alan said he remained a proud pit man at heart and always told stories of life down the mines until his death in December 2015 aged 74.

Roy’s family have followed in his footsteps, taking on both his love of engineering and an interest in aviation which saw him spend several years with the Air Training Corps (ATC).

Both son Alan and grandson Steven also served in the ATC and have now taken to the skies for a living, with Alan working as a long-haul pilot and Steven in flight training with British Airways.

Alan, who now lives in Middlewich in Cheshire, says the family was delighted to return to Astley Green to present the donation and see how the borough’s industrial past is being kept alive.

Alan, 52, said: “I thought the museum was absolutely superb. The enthusiasts have spent a lot of time on it and it was quite educational.

“My father went back to the museum once but it was closed, unfortunately. It was a bit of a shame, but he saw enough to see the old headgear and engine room were still there.

“He was also a mad DIY enthusiast and had a lot of decent power tools, so when we sold them we thought the colliery would be a good cause to donate to as it was close to his heart.

“He always considered himself a proud pit man and spoke a lot about the mines. He had all sorts of interesting stories which were memories of a bygone era.”

The colliery museum has a huge collection of locomotives, a working blacksmith’s forge and a short railway line which does freight demonstrations. It is open on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

For details visit www.agcm.org.uk