Northumberland village celebrates mining heritage with pit wheel installation

November 22, 2016 | Brenkley News

Residents of a Northumberland village now have a permanent reminder of its mining heritage on display thanks to a four-figure grant from a regional employer.

Having been offered a pit wheel from the former Daw Mill colliery in Warwickshire, which closed in 2013, Lynemouth Parish Council applied to the Banks Group’s Banks Community Fund for the money it required to bring the wheel north and install it at the centre of the village.

And now, after securing a £4,165 grant from Banks, the 6.6 metre diameter wheel has been transported up the country and put in place on Bridge Street in the centre of the village  by local contractor W L Straughan & Son Ltd.

As part of the opening celebrations, an art competition was set up for 5-11 year-old children from the local William Leech Campus of the Northumberland Church of England Academy, with the entries being put on display at a special event in the Lynemouth Institute, close to the pit wheel site.

The Parish Council is now developing plans to improve the area around the pit wheel, with a view to establishing it as the village’s centrepiece.

Purple crocus bulbs were planted all around the site recently by local volunteers in a project that is linked to Ashington Rotary Club’s participation in the ongoing Purple4Polio campaign, which is aimed at helping to completely eradicate the disease worldwide.

Options for making improvements to land adjacent to the pit wheel that is owned by the Parish Council are also being considered.

Liz Dunn, chair of Lynemouth Parish Council,  says: “Mining was the driving force behind the creation and evolution of our community, and we’ve long wanted to have something permanent in place to celebrate our mining heritage, so when the opportunity came up to bring the Daw Mill wheel to Northumberland, we did everything we could to make it happen.

“We didn’t have the resources needed to either transport or install the wheel, but when the Banks Group stepped in, we moved to get things done as quickly as we could.

“Many of the schoolchildren who took part in our art competition had grandparents and other family members who worked in the local mines, and the drawings they submitted of how they saw our community’s mining heritage were extremely impressive.

“We want to make the wheel a real focal point for our community, and the crocus bulb planting that we have done with the Rotary Club is just the first of many ideas that we hope will put this part of Lynemouth at the centre of community life.”

Having worked and invested in Northumberland for well over three decades, the Banks Group is one of the county’s largest private-sector employers, and currently employs around 200 people at its Shotton and Brenkley Lane sites near Cramlington.

Jeannie Kielty, development relations coordinator at the Banks Group, adds: “Being part of Northumberland’s continuing mining heritage ourselves, this is a project that was close to our heart and the pit wheel provides a fitting tribute to the generations of local miners and their families who help to make the North East an industrial powerhouse.”

The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects.  Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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