This month marks the anniversary of one of the worst mining disasters in the history of Yorkshire.
The Lofthouse Colliery Disaster of March 21, 1973, left 30 men dead and dozens more scarred for life.
Some of the bodies were never recovered and had to be sealed in.
It happened at just after 2am after a group of men working on a coal seam known as the Flockton Drift unexpectedly hit an old tunnel which was already flooded.
What happened next was one of the most horrific disasters not only in the history of Yorkshire but of the UK.
Thousands of tons of water crashed through into the working mine, taking with it tons of debris, including rock and metal, some of which weighed several tons.
As the news spread, miners working in other parts of the pit, some of them several miles away, were told to evacuate.
Tony Banks, 70, who was a miner for more than 30-years, was on duty that night.
He said: “We were working in the tunnel below them, known as the ‘11 Yard Seam’ - it was connected but not directly. We knew something was up because around 2.20am there was a sudden surge of wind and then the ventilation reversed for a few moments. That only happens when something’s up but we didn’t know what at that stage.”
However, at just after 4am they were told via radio to evacuate immediately, as water levels were still rising in the mine.
In some cases miners had to down tools and run for their lives.
There were even stories of some of the younger minders having to make the agonising decision to leave older, slower miners behind to die as they fled the water.
Dave Hagan was a member of the Allerton Bywater rescue crew which worked flat out for 37 days following the disaster.
He said: “There was one chap called Charlie Cotton who was working with his son and they were both running from the water and when he realised he couldn’t outrun it, he told his son, ‘You go on lad, I’ve had my life.’
“His son got out but he never did.
“It was such a horrible thing to happen and for a lot of people it’s like it happened yesterday. Them bodies are still down there and it’s important we never forget.”
Mr Hagan said it was the consensus view the mining tragedy was down to ‘Victorian greed’.
He said: “Back in those days you had to pay the landowners for taking coal, so what they used to do is pinch a bit here and a bit there and no-one would mark it on the map.
“That’s why when they came to survey the area before mining started, they were completely unaware these old shafts existed.
“I remember the Prime Minister Ted Heath coming into the rescue room and telling us he was scaling the operation back from a rescue to a recovery mission - they were simply too scared more lives would be lost.
“It felt like we’d given our all and it was for nothing. It felt like being kicked in the stomach.”
Those old Victorian mine workings, miles of them, had filled with water down the decades and when the Flockton Seam crew broke through, they unleashed a reservoir of water some 3.5m gallons strong.
The water turned to slurry as it sped along the maze of underground tunnels and carried debris up to three miles away. In the end, 60 tons of concrete was used to plug the shaft, sealing the bodies of seven men in forever.
On Saturday, March 23, a service will be held at Outwood Parish Church at 1pm. From 2pm at Ledger Lan WMC, there will be a video shot in 1973 showing interviews with miners and other people, plus a performance from Lofthouse 2000 brass band.
The next day there will be a short service at 3.15pm at the memorial, followed by events at St Paul’s Church, Alverthorpe.