LETTER SPECIAL: Sad farewells to Kellingley Colliery

In the wake of the tragic closure of Big K recently and the dismantling of the memorial to the miners who lost their lives digging for the black gold, might I suggest that the good people of Knottingley seriously consider raising funds for our own permanent memorial to these men?

Tuesday, 22nd December 2015, 4:10 pm
The last shift: Miners in the lamp room after thier last shift, as deep coal mining comes to an end in the UK at Kellingley Colliery. 18 December 2015. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Big K is now part of Knottingley’s history, and it cannot be allowed to fade into oblivion. Its achievements must be remembered by us, our children and grandchildren. Other areas have their memorials - places like Featherstone and Lofthouse come to mind.

I say to the people of Knottingley, let us stand together, as the miners did and raise the money, find a suitable spot where it can be seen by all. Let us have a parade every year to honour the men who are no longer with us. The older generation will remember the mile of pennies to purchase the play field. Why not a mile of £1 coins?

I know the good people of Knottingley will rally round and make this possible.

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Big K should never be forgotten - after all is said and done it was the last pit standing. December 18 2015 also should never be forgotten.

It was a sad and tragic day for Knottingley and the UK.

Hazel Richardson

Warwick neighbourhood watch co-ordinator


Not justified

There is no hope, no future, no jobs with capitalism in the 21st century, and that is confirmed after the closure of Kellingley Colliery.

Some people blame the Tories, some blame Labour, I personally blame the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the EU, and the bankers as the only ones responsible for the crisis of jobs in the UK, in Western and in Eastern Europe.

The Tories and the Labours do not have an interest in improving the living and economical standards of the British working class. They both care only about their highly paid political careers, and about being the next best servants for the greed of capitalism in Britain - the financial sector and the big multinational companies which monopolise the economy in every sector.

What is the solution against the dictatorship of capitalism? The people who create the wealth in a nation (the working class), must decide how and what to produce, and not the financial sector.

Kellingley Colliery has a reserve of coal for the next 30 years, the cost to produce coal from it is around £300 million, and not far from the mine there are already two coal power stations with a new one to be built in the near future. Therefore, its closure cannot be economically justified, it can be only a political decision to weaken, again, the backbone of the British economy - the working class. Socialism-communism is the only hope for the future of Great Britain.

Alain Fissore

Co-ordinator of Italy’s Partito Comunista in Britain, Leeds.


Our sorrow

My father left Wales in his late twenties to join the mining department at Whitwood Technical College.

The son of a Welsh miner, he gained a degree at Cardiff University, and went north to the expanding Yorkshire coalfield. When he became head of the department it grew, largely because of the expansion of Kellingley Colliery, from where students came in droves.

Therefore we cannot help but feel great sorrow at the closure of Kellingley, and the loss of jobs for all the miners who worked there. Although it is clearly a complex subject we cannot help but feel that ‘market forces’ come at the expense of humanity.

Miners in Britain, thanks to the NUM, were reasonably well-paid for doing a dangerous, difficult and dirty job, therefore one wonders how it can be more cost-effective to import coal from half-way round the world without the certain exploitation of foreign miners.

We lived in Knottingley for over 20 years, and I went to school in Pontefract, where so many of my schoolmates were the children of miners or workers in associated industries.

Our family is now back in Wales and we are acutely aware of the crushed communities that have never recovered from the pit closures following the miner’s strike. Wales is massively subsidised by the EU but the Valleys are some of the most deprived areas in Britain. There are only so many call centres you can build in a small area.

It would be good to think that some of the boys remember my dad with affection, but, rest assured, our hearts go out to the good men of Kellingley, and we wish them and their families all the best for an uncertain future.

Jayne Evans