As the North Ashton Prize Band played and the Salford MAPAS Community Choir sang hymns in a haunting, stunning tribute, those who worked and died at Agecroft Colliery were remembered in style yesterday as over two hundred people gathered for the dedication of the Agecroft Memorial Garden.
The little garden, next to the Agecroft Colliery Monument which was unveiled last year (see previous Salford Star article – click here), includes a plaque featuring the names of twelve workers of all ages who lost their lives at Salford's last pit, ranging from Hugh Albert, age 45, in 1958, to Adam Stott , aged just 19, in 1981.
The names were read out by former miner Alex Channon who added… "I think everyone is aware that mining was always a dangerous job and many people here will still have the scars from working down there. There were many serious injuries and sadly some men died down the pit. Today we dedicate this Garden to the memory of those men who lost their lives while working at the Colliery."
Thanking those who had made donations to enable the Memorial Garden to be enhanced, and the Irwell Valley Mining Project - which began the scheme to remember Agecroft with the erection of the monument and a subsequent exhibition at St Augustine's Church (see previous Salford Star article - click here) - Alex announced that, that there are now plans to also try and install a piece of mining machinery, possibly a pit wheel, on the site.
Paul Kelly, of the Irwell Valley Mining Project explained: "It's a very apt moment to remember this colliery because within 18 months we'll have no pits left in Britain probably…and that was the idea of this project, to make sure we have recognition for this pit and all the pits in the Irwell Valley.
"We've got this monument now for anyone to come down whenever they wish, to sit down and contemplate and give homage to the people who worked and died here."
Ex miners, their families, friends, the local community and a light smattering of councillors watched as Canon Wyatt of St Paul's Church dedicated the Memorial Garden with a prayer, and later a reunion of former Agecroft Colliery workers social was held at Swinton Royal Legion.
For further information on the Irwell Valley Mining Project and contact details - click here
Friends of Agecroft Colliery can be contacted via Alex Channon firstname.lastname@example.org