THE FORTIETH anniversary of a pit disaster which claimed the lives of seven men will be marked at a series of memorial events later this month.
On March 21, 1973, water, slush and debris rushed into Lofthouse Colliery near Wakefield, trapping the workers 750ft below ground.
Around 30 miners had been excavating a coalface near to the abandoned and flooded 19th century mineshaft when the accident happened. Only one body was recovered after a six-day rescue operation.
The victims’ names feature on a memorial on Batley Road, in Wrenthorpe
Tony Banks had been working in another section of the colliery and is now chairman of the Lofthouse Disaster Trust. He is appealing for family and friends of those who died to attend events being held to mark the occasion.
Mr Banks, 70, of Kirkhamgate said: “It is important to remember those who died as a lot of people see the memorial, but don’t realise what happened.”
On Saturday, March 23, a service will be held at Outwood Parish Church at 1pm. From 2pm at Ledger Lane WMC, there will be a reunion for mineworkers and families of the men who lost their lives. Lofthouse 2000 Band will perform at the reunion.
After the concert, Outwood Community Video Club will show a film from 1973 about the disaster.
The following day there will be a short service at 3.15pm at the Lofthouse Memorial Garden on Batley Road, followed by events at St Paul’s Church, in Alverthorpe.
The men who died were Edward Finnegan, 40, of Kikhamgate; William Armitage, 41, of Eastmoor; Alan Haigh, 30, of Outwood; Sydney St Clair Brown, 36, of Leeds; Colin Barnaby, 36, of East Ardsley; Charles Cotton, 49, of Leeds and Frank Billingham, 48, of Flanshaw.