BIG-hitting boxer Josh Wale (pictured right) was the guest of honour at the unveiling of a new miners’ memorial.
Former pitmen, family and friends were all at the ceremony for the new tribute at Waterfront Golf in Manvers.
Terry Askew, who co-ordinating the project with fellow ex-miners Marshall Turton and Keith Roper, said: “We set up a Facebook for former Wath Mainers and people were making all these suggestions, but nothing really happened with it.
“Then last October I got together with Marshall and Keith and we decided to make it happen.
“We asked for donations through the group and money came in from all over, including Australia, Florida and Canada, from former miners. In all, we collected about £1,600.
“One of the old Mainers, Jimmy Little, is a bricklayer and he did all the bricklaying for us.
“Marshall, who used to be a manager, had an old pit wheel in his garden. It’s an emergency winding wheel, which is a bit smaller than the normal ones.
“I can’t believe how quickly it’s come together from having the idea to being able to do the unveiling.
“There was a really good turnout on the day, with around 60 or 70 blokes.”
Terry said he wanted to thank Adrian Hughes, John Powell, Hugh McHeary, Melvyn Caddick and Melvyn’s wife Trudy for their volunteering efforts, as well as golf club owner Frank Houlgate, who agreed to site the memorial on his land.
Josh, who is preparing to defend his British title in Sheffield in two weeks’ time, said: “I live in Wath and mining is a big part of the community in this area — if you didn’t work there you probably know someone who did.
“They have done brilliantly getting it up so quickly and support each other really well even though it is so long since the pit shut.
“My great uncle served down the pit and Melvyn is my uncle so it’s a bit of a family thing. I was more than happy to do the honours for them.”
Mr Houlgate said: “We were delighted to help them pay tribute to all the pitmen that are no longer with us.”