Hundreds pay tribute to Yorkshire’s mining heritage at ceremony in Rotherham

The National Union of Mineworkers' Keith Hartshorne presents his wreath to Rev Canon David Bliss. Picture by Allan McKenzie
The National Union of Mineworkers' Keith Hartshorne presents his wreath to Rev Canon David Bliss. Picture by Allan McKenzie
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All those who worked at collieries across Yorkshire have been remembered at a packed annual service in Rotherham.

Almost 160 people gathered to pay their respects to the county’s miners and collieries at the ninth annual Yorkshire Miners Memorial Service at Rotherham Minster yesterday.

The service featured local National Union of Mineworkers branch banners, including those from the county’s remaining pits at Kellingley and Hatfield, displaying poignant slogans such as ‘From Obscurity to Respect’.

Hymns and readings came from the clergy and the Mayor of Rotherham, Coun John Foden, while music was laid on by the Maltby Miners Welfare Band.

As part of the service Wakefield’s Yew Tree Theatre Group performed to outline the sense of loss when disaster strikes as well as the void left when collieries are closed.

The vicar of Rotherham Minster, Rev Canon David Bliss, who blessed Yorkshire Area National Union of Mineworkers’ new banner at the service, said: “Whenever a life is lost in industry or in anyway it affects a considerable number of people and things like today are an opportunity for us to remember those who have lost their lives, those who were injured and their families, who are still there and will always remember them.”

Union officials made addresses and a procession of wreaths were laid to mark the service and sacrifice of the county’s miners. Members of the congregation brought their own floral tributes to lay at the altar in remembrance of loved ones.

“Many have commented to me how moving it was to see all the wreaths laid in remembrance,” Canon Bliss added.