Take a step back to pit village life to raise cash for a Hetton statue

Ray Lonsdale who created the Seaham statue, Tommy.
Ray Lonsdale who created the Seaham statue, Tommy.

Villagers can take a step back in time to experience life in a pit community.

Members of Culture for Hetton, will be staging a performance of Life in a Pit Village as part of their fund-raising for a new statue.

A sketch of what the Hetton mining statue would look like.

A sketch of what the Hetton mining statue would look like.

The charitable trust is hoping to raise £43,000 to buy a specially commissioned Hetton Mining Heritage Statue, sculpted by Ray Lonsdale, creator of Seaham’s Tommy.

Life in a Pit Village will include a variety of songs, stories, laughter and tears from the coalface.

The performers include John Wrightson, a prolific song writer from Murton, Bert Draycott a comedian and story teller and Bob Lowery who wrote the script for She’s Fired, which was the storey of the 1880 Seaham Colliery disaster.

Moves to buy a statue for Hetton, following the success of Tommy, were launched last year and since then the Culture for Hetton group has worked hard to raise funds.

It will be a very fitting focal point in Hetton

Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson, one of the members, said: “There’s no reminder really in Hetton of what was here. It will be a very fitting focal point in Hetton.”

He said so far they have managed to raise almost £15,000, but still have a way to go.

The structure, which will stand at about 9ft tall, depict a father and son as the boy, aged about eight, is sent to the colliery for his first shift.

The final location for the sculpture is still to be confirmed.

Lee Branney, amother members of Culture for Hetton, said it goes back to the 1840s-style, when there was a lot of mining in this area of the North East.

And, the statue is intended to be a tribute to, and reminder of, the sacrifices made by the men and women who built the coal mining community in Hetton.

Life in a Pit Village is being held on Friday, June 9 at 7.30pm in the Easington Lane Welfare Hall.

Tickets cost £10 or £8 for concession and area available by contaction Lee Branney on 07970 294246 or Alan Jackson on 0191 5262804 or email alan.t.jackson@hotmail.com.

The group is also selling tiles for £25 each to commemorate a family member who was a miner, these will be placed on the base of the sculpture.