Pit disaster anniversary to be marked

THE forthieth anniversary of a pit disaster which claimed the lives of seven men is to be marked at a series of events.

On March 21, 1973, water, slush and debris rushed into Lofthouse Colliery near Wakefield, trapping the workers 750ft below ground.

About 30 miners had been excavating a coal face near 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 in Batley Road, 

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 died. Lofthouse 2000 Band will perform at the reunion.

Outwood Community Video Club will show a film about the disaster. The next day there will be a short service at 3.15pm at the memoria, followed by events at St Paul’s Church, in Alverthorpe.