I WOULD like to thank all 39 people and Wilma the dog who supported my 21st annual pre-Christmas ramble on Saturday December 21.
On behalf of the Great Central Railway Society, we all enjoyed a leisurely and meandering five mile walk from Conisbrough to Swinton via Mexborough, including many from Rotherham and Sheffield and participants came from far and wide, including Cleethorpes, Alfreton, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Chesterfield, Gainsborough and Doncaster.
Nearing the end of our festive ramble we all stopped off to enjoy sherry and mince pies, standing on Talbot Road, Swinton overlooking the canal and railway — all together with darkness falling it looked very Dickensian.
Can I say a special thank you to the Dearne Valley Leisure Centre who kindly accommodated us for a morning cuppa and also for their first aid skills in helping one of our walkers who had fallen down on nearby Doncaster Road. Our walker June from Chesterfield was cleaned and bandaged up so allowing her to complete the walk.
En-route on our ramble we were we were privileged to have along with us local councillor Ken Wyatt, who is a fountain of knowledge on local history. He pointed out this, that and the other.
Everyone learned something new and benefited from his presence as we rambled along.
As there were nearly 40 in our party, when we arrive din Mexborough we had to split up for our lunch break and the town did us proud. Mouth-watering festive meals were served all round. I, myself and 17 others went to Rosie’s Tea Shop on the High Street. Tom Atmore and his friendly staff accommodated us wonderfully, the meals were delicious and feedback from everyone in our group was we would all return here on a future date — what a marvellous little town centre, full of character and friendly faces all round.
On all my festive walks I always like to stop off at an appropriate point and read out some of my poetry and this year was no exception. The Dearne Valley Leisure Centre is built on the site of Denaby Main Colliery which opened in 1968 and closed in 1968, exactly 100 years in existence.
I would like to leave Rotherham Advertiser readers with one of my poems which I read outside the leisure centre.
To all readers, have a great and prosperous new year.
A Miners Lament
From farmsteads, woodland and fields of green
Along came the collieries and wiped the slate clean
With beaming light above to darkness down below
Descending and caged miners must go
From early tramways and wagon-ways
To Canal schemes and the railways
Important transport links of the day
Built and constructed to take the coal away
Dangerous and hazardous is working underground
Risk of flooding, fire and has all around
Through twisting black tunnels extending the seam
A job full of hardship, dirty and mean
From pit props and ponies mechanisation came
New hydraulic supports and the railway train
Soon mining became an industry of change
Old pits worked out and closure wide range
Coal not dole was the striking miners’ cry
A chant of pride to help his pit live not die
Eventually communities were broken-up and torn apart
Made to look forward and make a new start
On maps of today a road bypass and country park
Many housing estates and industrial developments marked
Much change of landscape now varies all around
Then spare a thought for the miners who toiled underground
Stephen Gay, Darnall