Tyne & Wear

Langley Park memorial to mining heritage unveiled

Langley Park mining memorial
Image caption Five women who had relatives who worked at the pit raised £22,000 for the memorial

A memorial to village miners at a pit that closed more than 40 years ago has been unveiled.

Langley Park Colliery, near Durham City, County Durham, closed in 1975 after producing coal for 102 years.

A group of five women raised £22,000 to pay for the 10ft (3m) statue of a lone miner, including the daughter of the last man to be killed at the mine.

Christine Pringle was two years old when her father Eric Weighill was killed by a rock fall in 1971, aged 29.

All five women had relatives who worked at the pit.

Image copyright Ron Lawson
Image caption It took five years to raise the cash for the memorial

Mrs Pringle, a schoolteacher who still lives in Langley Park, said: "The only reason for the village existing was for the mine, just like so many other villages in County Durham.

"It helps to understand the present if you know about the past.

"Other nearby villages have mining memorials to highlight their heritage. We thought Langley Park ought to have one too.

"I grew up hearing stories about my father, so it is as if I did know him.

"This memorial is honouring his memory and the memory of all the other miners who worked there, many more who died while working underground.

"It was dangerous and dirty work but the camaraderie was so strong."

Image copyright Esh Parish Council
Image caption The colliery operated between 1873 and 1975

The sculpture was designed by Sunderland-based artist Mark Burns Cassell, working with metal fabricator and artist Ron Lawson from Fencehouses, near Sunderland.

In total 62 men were killed at the mine during its operation.

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