A statue to commemorate a community’s colliery past will be unveiled at a celebration tomorrow.
Sculptor Ray Lonsdale, who created Tommy on Seaham’s seafront, was commissioned by Culture for Hetton to put together the statue, which will go on show in the village’s Front Street.
Read more: Community welcome to unveiling of new Ray Lonsdale statue which pays tribute to mining heritage
Ahead of a noon unveiling, where minster Stephen Hill will bless the £51,000 artwork of a miner and his son, a march will take place from Hetton Workingmen’s Club starting at 10.30am, with up to 18 pit banners to be paraded through the village accompanied by Houghton Brass Band and a rolling road closure planned.
The route will take the displays, including the Mines’ rescue, banners from Houghton, Silksworth and Eppleton and the Durham Miners’ Associations own, along Caroline Street to Front Street, where master of ceremony Stuart Lawson will welcome everyone and hand over to chairman of Culture for Hetton, Dave Geddis.
Children from Easington Lane Primary, Eppleton Academy Primary, Hetton Lyons Primary, Hetton Primary, East Rainton Primary and Hetton School will be involved in the day, singing sons and burying time capsules before the big reveal.
It is hoped the area’s oldest miner and a school pupil will join in the grand finale of the ceremony, which will also involve the reading of a poem penned by Ray and students reading out the names of youngsters whose lives were claimed by the area’s collieries and a final tune by the band.
The unveiling day is going to be fantastic.Dave Geddis
Related: Hetton could get lasting memorial to its mining past
Mr Geddis said: “For me personally, I was born in Hetton, my dad Jack was a miner at Eppleton and worked there for 42 years and my grandfather was also a miner and so did my brothers-in-law, and so for me this has been a journey.
“I remember my dad going to work in his flat cap and everyday he would take a little bag and bring home a roundy - a very large piece of coal for us to use.
“This project has been going on for four-and-a-half years and we’re really proud to get to this stage.
“I remember someone saying ‘Good luck getting money off the people of Hetton’ but they have been fantastic and we have had so many donations.
“The unveiling day is going to be fantastic.”
The project has also been backed by a number of sponsors, who have paid to have their own tile around the plinth of the artwork.