Pretoria is remembered

18 Jan 2024 01:56
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Poignant: The services to remember the victims of the disaster (Photo credit: Westhoughton Town Council and Chris Green MP)

WESTHOUGHTON came together to remember the victims of the Pretoria Pit disaster on the 123rd anniversary of the tragedy.
Every year the town remembers the 344 men and boys who lost their lives in the explosion in the underground explosion which devastated families across Westhoughton and the surrounding areas.
A number of services were held, starting with a morning gathering at the kneeling miner memorial in Ditchfield Gardens on Market Street.
After a hymn and prayers, there was a poignant detonation of ‘maroons’ at 7.50am, the precise time of the explosion.
That was followed by a church service at St Bartholemew’s Parish Church and short prayers and a further wreath-laying at the memorial which stands in its cemetery and the grave of unidentified miners.
Wreaths were laid by Diane Hawkins, the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and the mayor of Westhoughton Deirdre McGeown. Bolton West MP Chris Green also attended.
Westhoughton High School pupils carried out readings and Jane Torrence sang a song called ‘The Pretoria Pit’.
In the afternoon, music and poetry readings took place at the Atherton memorial to the disaster, organised by the Over Hulton Community Group. The explosion at No.3 Bank Pit, Hulton Colliery, on December 21, 1910, was the third worst mining disaster in British history
Speaking after the services, Chris Green said: “It is important that we continue to remember the hundreds of men and boys who were taken away from their families just a few days before Christmas.”


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