Tommy sculptor creates statue of miner with his heart ripped out

Ray Lonsdale's sculpture 'I Ain't Gonna Work On Maggies Farm No More'

Ray Lonsdale's sculpture 'I Ain't Gonna Work On Maggies Farm No More'

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A miner sculpture with its heart ripped out has been bought by an East Durham village.

Created by Ray Lonsdale, I Ain’t Gonna Work On Maggies Farm No More, is going on display in Horden after being bought for £19,000.

The six feet tall miner, with a gap where his heart should be, represents how mining closures “ripped the hearts out of villages and towns”.

Ray, who also created Seaham’s Tommy sculpture, said: “I grew up and started working in an era when the pits were closed and the ship yards went and it felt, and it still feels like the country has been holed out of all the skills that made it great.”

The idea came a number of years ago when discussions were in force about putting up a statue of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for “all the good she had done in the country”, he said.

He was then inspired to do something to illustrate the impact her decisions had on the region.

Ray, who lives and works in South Hetton, added: “If they decided to re-open mines and ship yards it’s going to be very difficult, because once the skills are gone you can never get them back.

“They gave jobs to every level, from the people who sweep the floors up to the engineers – and a lot of those people are now left claiming benefits and people are moaning about them claiming benefits. They had their pride and that’s been taken away.”

Money for the sculpture was contributed by county councillors June Clark and Paul Stradling from their neighbourhood budgets.

Horden Parish Council has also become involved. A location has not yet been confirmed, but the village’s Welfare Park has been mentioned as a possibility.

Ray is putting the finishing touches to the miner, and it is hoped it will be installed next month.

It is going to the first in a series of miner sculptures by the artist, which will deliver a similar message.

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