POIGNANT PICTURES: Schoolchildren lay flowers to remember Derbyshire miners who perished

County Councillor Tony King, artist Stephen Broadbent, the Duke of Devonshire and children from Duckmanton Primary School at the unveiling of the seven figures. Pictures by Jason Chadwick.
County Councillor Tony King, artist Stephen Broadbent, the Duke of Devonshire and children from Duckmanton Primary School at the unveiling of the seven figures. Pictures by Jason Chadwick.

Miners who died in the Markham Colliery disaster of 1938 have been honoured.

Seven life-size steel statues were revealed at Markham Vale yesterday as part of the Walking Together commemoration to remember miners who lost their lives down the pit.

County Councillor Tony King, artist Stephen Broadbent and the Duke of Devonshire.

County Councillor Tony King, artist Stephen Broadbent and the Duke of Devonshire.

They honour Hebert Hargreaves, 49, and his two sons Herbert Junior, 27, and Leslie, 23; Albert Ernest Rodgers, 19; Robert Henry Wood, 22; Robert Simms, 56, and Arthur Henson, 45. They died in the disaster on Tuesday, May 10, 1938.

The figures were made possible thanks to donations from the Duke of Devonshire's trust fund and other contributors.

There are now 34 statues at the location as part of the memorial, which will eventually feature 106 figures to represent each man who perished in three accidents at the site near Bolsover in 1937, 1938 and 1973.

Sandra Struggles, who is part of the Walking Together project, said: "It was a wonderful day and we'd like to thank everyone involved.

Children from Duckmanton Primary School lay flowers to remember those killed in the 1938 tragedy.

Children from Duckmanton Primary School lay flowers to remember those killed in the 1938 tragedy.

"So many people turned up.

"All the children from Duckmanton Primary School sang Lean on Me and each child laid a carnation on the figures.

"The Duke of Devonshire gave a very sincere speech and said the mining memorial is as important as Remembrance Day."

In total, 79 men were killed and more than 30 men were injured in the 1938 disaster.

Maureen Finney with a figure which symbolises her father Arthur Henson who was killed in the 1938 tragedy.

Maureen Finney with a figure which symbolises her father Arthur Henson who was killed in the 1938 tragedy.

The Derbyshire Times reported on the tragedy in a so-called 'Black Friday' edition on Friday, May 13, 1938.

Sandra said: "All 79 men who died on that dreadful day were buried on the same day in 13 cemeteries.

"The accident wrecked the lives in 17 village communities and left 62 widows and 83 children without their dad."

The Walking Together memorial has been designed by Cheshire-based Artist Stephen Broadbent.

Children from Duckmanton Primary School lay flowers to remember those killed in the 1938 tragedy.

Children from Duckmanton Primary School lay flowers to remember those killed in the 1938 tragedy.

It symbolises a miner's journey to the pit and back home again.

Sandra added: "If you would like to sponsor a figure or just give a donation, no matter how small, please let us know because there are still another 72 needed to complete the trail.

"Thank you."

If you would like to get in touch with Sandra, call her on 01246 233772.

You can also email her on sandrastruggles@talktalk.net

Children from Duckmanton Primary School lay flowers to remember those killed in the 1938 tragedy.

Children from Duckmanton Primary School lay flowers to remember those killed in the 1938 tragedy.

Local people including relatives of the men killed in the 1938 tragedy admire the latest statues to be added to the memorial.

Local people including relatives of the men killed in the 1938 tragedy admire the latest statues to be added to the memorial.