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24 November 2016
THE WHEEL TURNS FULL CIRCLE FOR OLD PIT VILLAGE

Pit wheel given pride of place in one of Northumberland's former mining villages

LYNEMOUTH now has a permanent reminder of its mining heritage more than 20 years after its colliery closed.

Having been offered a pit wheel from the former Daw Mill colliery in Warwickshire, which shut in 2013, Lynemouth Parish Council applied to the Banks Group’s Banks Community Fund for the money needed to bring the wheel north and install it at the centre of the village. Lynemouth’s own coal mine shut in 1994.

Now, after securing a £4,165 grant from Banks, the 6.6m diameter wheel has been placed in Lynemouth’s Bridge Street by contractor W L Straughan & Son Ltd.

As part of the opening celebrations, an art competition was held for children from the nearby William Leech Campus of the Northumberland Church of England Academy, with the entries on display in the Lynemouth Institute, close to the pit wheel site.

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

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

Liz Dunn, chairperson of Lynemouth Parish Council, said: “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.”

Jeannie Kielty, development relations coordinator at the Banks Group, said: “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 near Banks Group projects. Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

Lynemouth is now developing plans to make the wheel the village's 'centrepiece' as it reconnects with its proud history.