Statue commissioned to remember 'brave' Manx miners

image copyrightOngky Wijana
image captionThe stone miner is being constructed in Bali because the sculptor, Ongky Wijana, was unable to extend his Manx work permit

A stone statue has been commissioned in the east of the Isle of Man as a tribute to the "bravery" of those who worked in the Great Laxey mines.

The miner, which will be erected on a plinth in the heart of Laxey, is currently being constructed in Bali by an artist called Ongky Wijana.

The Great Laxey Mine employed more than 600 miners between 1825 and 1929.

Co-ordinator Ivor Hankinson said: "The miners were so brave, and this statue will mean they are remembered forever."

He added: "In addition we will have a plaque on the wall showing the names of 32 people who died in the mine. I think that is important because they did so much for the Isle of Man and worked so hard at a very difficult job."

Wooden carving

Once erected on its plinth, the stone miner statue will stand at about 13ft high.

It will replace a wooden carving of a miner which was removed in 2008 after it disintegrated with age.

media captionOngky Wijana's statue is under construction in Bali

Funding for the statue was provided by a benefactor, a Laxey resident who left money for the project in her will.

"This lady died in 2012 at the age of 97, but she would have been so pleased that one of her final wishes is coming to fruition," said Mr Hankinson.

"She was saddened when the wooden miner had to be taken down so this would have meant a lot to her - as it will for everybody in the village."

Stone Carver Ongky Wijana said: "I was honoured to be asked to do the Laxey piece. It's a big public piece of work so I'm very proud that people from all over will be able to see it and it will represent Laxey, which is such a beautiful town."

The Laxey mines were among the riches sources of zinc, lead and silver anywhere in the British Isles in the latter half of the 19th Century.

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