Tributes to former pitman

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TRIBUTES have been paid to one of the oldest ex-miners on Wearside, after his death aged 92.

Patrick Bell, who was born and brought up in Penshaw, started work at 14, entering the local Dorathea Pit where he was based for 20 years.

The popular figure, known as “Paddy” to friends and family, was later transferred to New Herrington Colliery, where he worked until his retirement.

Mr Bell and wife Maggie, who married in 1947, had four children, seven grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

“In 2006, he was asked to open the local village green as he was the oldest ex-miner,” said daughter Mary Bell.

“He was a real gentlemen and will be sadly missed by his loving family.”

Another friend added: “He was known as a gentleman, the oldest surviving miner and the oldest man in New Herrington.”

Mr Bell, of Lanton Street, died on May 4.