BOSSES at a Pleasley community project which aims to preserve the area’s proud mining heritage are appealing for new volunteers to come forward.
The volunteers plan to create a brand new mining museum along with visitor facilities on the site of the former headstocks at Pleasley Colliery.
So far the small band of dedicated volunteers has an impressive display of mining artefacts, including lamps, drills, spades and mining hats, but can only display a small fraction of their historic collection in the south building due to a lack of display facilities.
Volunteer Tony Hursthouse, who is a former miner at Sherwood Colliery, said: “We need to preserve Pleasley Pit for our children and grand-children so we can show them what their heritage is.
“We want to get as many people up here as possible to show them what we are doing. The museum up here is unique to this area and is worth showing off.
“We let people who come to see our display pick things up and get hands on. The young kids enjoy playing with the lamps and helmets and former miners who visit us enjoy rolling back the years. It is not just about mining, it is about the whole area.
“We now need to get more people involved. We have one volunteer who is 16 and I am the second youngsest at 46 so we need some fresh blood and more people to carry on our work for future generations.”
The colliery shut down in 1986 and the friends group was originally formed in 1997 to restore the headstock engines.
Since that date the area has gone from strength to strength after 90 hectares of countryside on the former pit was designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in July 2011.
There are six different species of orchid and 172 species of bird have been recorded at the park, including marsh harriers, red kites, Arctic skuas and most types of owl.
The park is also home to grass snakes, dragonflies, moths and butterflies, while the site’s Main Pond could soon become a safe location for the British white clawed crayfish, which is currently under threat across the country after the introduction of the American crayfish.
As well as appealing for more people to donate their time and energy, Tony is also urging locals with fundraising skills or any mining memorabilia to step forward.”
Said Tony: “We always say to people that if they are clearing out lofts and they have anything we can display to donate them to us. We have got a lot of items in storage and once we have some more space we will be able to put on an even better display.
“We need money to be able to carry out our aims. A lot of us are former miners who are not familiar with fundraising and how to access grant opportunities, we need someone with a business mind to come and give us assistance.”
The volunteers meet every Sunday at Pleasley Pit and anyone wishing to volunteer is being invited to pop in for a chat.
l To listen to a full audio guide around the mining attraction, visit www.chad.co.uk.