A long awaited, unique memorial was unveiled today, Saturday 4th February 2023 at High Blantyre Cemetery commemorating the lives of hundreds of miners who lost their lives in three colliery disasters.
An important event for the former mining community of Blantyre, thankfully the weather stayed dry as 90 local people gathered at 12.30 for the modest unveiling ceremony.
One of the organisers, Paul Veverka presided, introducing colleague and fellow Blantyre man, Jimmy small as joint organiser. The purpose was to unveil two brand new memorial stones at the site where most of the miners are buried, which for the first time names each miner on a permanent outdoor memorial, intended to last generations.
The memorial stones, which are made of granite and engraved will in time weather to match the existing obelisk and remember the disasters of 1877, 1878 and 1879.
With Blantyre Miner’s Welfare Charitable Society acting as treasurer, Paul and Jimmy spearheaded a fundraising campaign with ended up raising over £7,000, with the community themselves playing a large part in that goal. As well as the new stones, there are new chains, new turf and gravel.
After introductions and some words about how the memorial came about and the work which into organising it, minister Murdo MacDonald of Livingstone Memorial Church and Father Martin of St Joseph’s Church provided prayers and a blessing.
Jimmy Small and Mary Crowe (who is directly related to 2 of the miners who died) unveiled the new stones to applause.
Thanks for were then listed to various individuals and organisations, including South Lanarkshire Council, Joe Connor, Renewable Energy Trust, Blantyre Telegraph, David Livingstone Memorial Church, St Joseph’s Church, Blantyre Community Council, the Tact Hall and the many individuals who donated.
Further thanks were given to Thomas McGuigan Memorials, the Blantyre Miner Welfare Charitable Society and Andy Simm, Mick McCann for his hospitality and Blantyre’s Councillors for the steer towards fundraising sources. Thanks also to Murdo, Father Martin and Mary Crowe for their efforts and kindness. Thanks also to everybody who turned up today, the crowd being some three times larger than expected. Finally, a big thank you to Jim Donnelly, for covering the event with these fantastic photos.
The Ceremony concluded with laying of wreaths, photos and a reflection on some of the personal stories of the miners. All the remarkable stories and their names will never be forgotten and these new memorials will help ensure thats achieved.