Miners reunited after 20 years
2:00pm Sun Mar 19, 2017
 
More than 500 people who worked at Bilsthorpe Colliery attended a reunion at the village miners' welfare.
More than 500 people who worked at Bilsthorpe Colliery attended a reunion at the village miners' welfare.
An ex-miner who emigrated to Australia was among hundreds of former pitmen who attended a reunion.
More than 500 people who worked at Bilsthorpe Colliery met at the village miners’ welfare last Saturday.

Among them was Mr Julian Barnsdale, who flew from Australia to attend the reunion.

Mr Barnsdale worked at the colliery until its closure in 1997 and then left the UK for Australia.

The reunion was organised by Mr Steve Crane, who worked at the pit for 25 years.

A bus-load of 36 people travelled to the reunion from Newark and Balderton.

The reunion raised £1,472 to be split between Newark’s Beaumond House Community Hospice and Bilsthorpe Heritage Museum.

The museum features a collection of artefacts and memorabilia from Bilsthorpe and other pits in the area.

Mr Crane said: “It was one of those events that could have attracted 200 or 2,000 because it covered such a wide area and with the pit’s closure they were all transferred to different pits.

“It was at least 20 years, and in many cases more than that, since people had seen each other.

“They are asking me to do it again because it was such a fantastic night.

“Some of those from Newark hadn’t seen each other since their mining days.”

Mr Crane said he was delighted to see Mr Barnsdale, who also played for the Claypole FC side he once managed.

“Seeing him was absolutely fantastic,” said Mr Crane. “He said he wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

The bus from Newark stopped at the Stanton Arms in Bilsthorpe, which was a popular pub for miners.

At the reunion a service was led by the vicar of Bilsthorpe, the Rev Anna Alls, to remember miners Mr Bill McCulloch, 26, Mr Peter Alcock, 50, and under-manager Mr David Shelton, 31, who died at the colliery following a roof collapse in 1993.

Mr Crane said he would decide later this year whether to hold another reunion.

“I’m going to have a few months off and then see where we go from there,” he said.

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