North East Wales

Miner's discovery after £40,500 Point of Ayr project grant

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Media captionPoint of Ayr colliery project awarded £40,000 grant

A surprise lottery grant of £40,500 for a Flintshire project led to a tearful discovery for an ex-miner.

The Point of Ayr project received the Heritage Lottery funding to help preserve the legacy of the last deep coal mine in north Wales.

A lottery player who announced the grant while visiting the project helped retired miner Glyn "Patch" Hughes discover a faded photograph of a miner.

Mr Hughes, 78, realised it showed his father who had died 50 years ago.

"I welled up when I heard we'd got the funding - now we'll be able to keep these memories alive," he said.

Vicky Peterson, 46, posed as a volunteer to find out more about the project as part of the National Lottery's Thank You Wales campaign.

Image copyright National Lottery Good Causes
Image caption Glyn "Patch" Hughes and Vicky Peterson discover the photograph

It allows players to find out more about the projects that benefit when they buy a ticket.

The photograph showed Mr Hughes' father William "Patch" Hughes driving a Welsh cob, moving coal to be graded on the surface of the old Point of Ayr Colliery.

Mr Hughes, of Gronant, near Prestatyn, who started down the mine at 16 and worked for 40 years, said it was the first time he had seen the photograph before.

"As young boys we knew nothing else but when it's gone it's gone," he explained.

"My grandchildren ask me about what life was like and whether or not I'd recommend it if the pit was still open.

"It's a difficult question to answer, because it was hard, dangerous work, but we all worked together and looked out for each other.

Image caption The Point of Ayr Memorial at Ffynnongroyw

"Now this project will help explain what life was like to the next generations."

John Wiltshire, chairman of Point of Ayr Community Heritage, was presented with the cheque.

He said: "We are all really excited to bring the mine back to life and to educate both local people and visitors about the mine's importance, not just locally, but also to the heritage of Wales as a whole.

"When Vicky revealed that she wasn't with us to volunteer and presented me with the cheque I was completely overwhelmed."

The Point of Ayr Then and Now project, led by Flintshire council's countryside service, will invest the grant into a miners trail and circular walk using the Wales coast path between Ffynnongroyw and Talacre.

Image copyright National Lottery Good Causes
Image caption John Wiltshire said the grant "means the world to me and the other miners"

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