An open invitation to remember the past

Former miner Tony Hogan of Atherton who is organising a reuion of pitmen .
Former miner Tony Hogan of Atherton who is organising a reuion of pitmen .
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ANY pitman who worked at a Leigh Colliery which closed 20 years ago is invited to a reunion later this month.

After more than 72 years of hard, hot, dangerous graft by miners at Parsonage Colliery in the centre of town, the six miles of noisy conveyors a mile underground rattled to a halt.

Now a coalface worker who was part of that final shift has organised the reunion for former pitmen at Leigh Miners’s Welfare Club off Twist Lane.

He wants to keep that special spirit, born of men who relied on each other to ‘watch their backs’ against the harshest of working condition, alive and well.

Tony Hogan did 17 years at the colliery before moving onto Parkside for a year, the last pit working the Lancashire coalfield.

He then managed “just a day” at Point of Ayr colliery, before his life in the industry was snuffed out prematurely by Margaret Thatcher.

The reunion - all ex-staff are welcome and you don’t need a ticket - will take place on Friday March 30 at 8pm.

Tony, of Hillside Avenue in Atherton, admits he misses the camaraderie of life underground.

He has never managed to replicate it since he returned to the surface for the last time on March 28, 1992.

Now retired, Tony said: “You won’t need a ticket, there is an open invitation for all ex-miners and employees to just turn up.

“Parsonage was a good pit to work in and very productive. There was a good spirit in the place right to the end.

“There was plenty of coal left when the placed closed but Maggie Thatcher didn’t want to know and I suppose it will be there forever now because they filled the shafts in to make sure nobody could get it in the future.

“I remember it was very sad on the last turns.”