A long-running campaign to erect a memorial to miners killed in a village’s pits has finally ended in success.
A pit wheel mining memorial has been unveiled on Coxhoe’s village green, eight years after members of Coxhoe Banner Group set out on the project.
Chairman Robert Robinson said: “I was in tears. There were a lot of tears shed that day.
“We’ve had so many knock-backs in those eight years. But we weren’t going to give up – we were going to keep fighting.
“Everything was a blur that morning. I still go down every to see it’s definitely there.”
The Banner Group was founded 12 years ago and its first task was to have a new miners’ banner created for the village.
Once that had been achieved, members turned to the memorial.
They bought a genuine pit wheel from Coal UK in Doncaster but encountered problems finding a site, buying the plot and securing funding, so the wheel remained in storage for several years.
After several different groups started to work together, progress speeded up around two years ago, leading to the memorial being unveiled on the morning of this year’s Durham Miners’ Gala, Saturday, July 12.
North Skelton Band performed, Rev Christopher Wood-Archer led a service and the wheel was unveiled by Jenny Robinson, Banner Group secretary, and county councillor Maria Plews.
The overall cost of the project was about £70,000.
The wheel stands on limestone flagstones and against a limestone wall, honouring the village’s quarries, and includes sleepers, representing the village’s railway heritage.
Mr Robinson, himself a former miner, said: “It’s lovely. A lot of people don’t know that’s where the old Long Row pit houses were.”
In future, the names of men and boys who died in Coxhoe’s three pits, West Hetton, Joint Stocks and Clay Hole, and one drift mine could be added to the memorial and flowers and interpretation boards added nearby.
Mr Robinson also hopes to restore a historic wall which was removed.
Source – Durham Times, 30 July 2014
Its Wikipedia entry is remarkably short on details, describing Ingleton in Co Durham merely as a village eight miles from Darlington.
But that can offer little succour to local MP Helen Goodman who angered constituents this weekend when she opened their village fair and classic vehicle show mistaking it for its better known namesake 70 miles away across the border in North Yorkshire.
Whilst the shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport eulogised Ingleton’s extraordinary natural beauty of waterfalls and caves as well as its connection to Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, her astonished audience rapidly realised she had made the all-too-common error of confusing the two villages.
Whereas Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts with its limestone geology and celebrated White Scar caves, Ingleton in Co Durham, home to a Methodist chapel and school, is little known beyond the population of 400.
Ms Goodman, who has represented the seat of Bishop Auckland for Labour since 2005, apologised for the blunder. “I am sorry that I made the mistake. It was an honest accident on my behalf and some people pointed it out to me on the day,” she said.
Organisers of Ingleton Village Fair and Classic Vehicle Show said it was unlikely she would be invited back. Tony Todd, who attended the event, told The Northern Echo: “I looked at my family and I thought what is she babbling on about? She dug a big hole for herself. If it had been 1 April I would have thought it was a set up. I think she is a disgrace and she has made a lasting impression on me. I would not vote for her.”