Mining statue one step closer

24
Leader of the council presents WHAMM with their cheque

A local history group passionate about commemorating the borough’s mining history with a statue has been given another cash boost.

Wigan Council presented Wigan Heritage and Mining Monument (WHAMM) with a cheque for more than £2,000 from Brighter Borough funds, bringing them one step closer to their £150,000 target.

The statue will feature a miner, pit brow lass and a child, which will sit near Wigan Town Hall – the borough’s former mining college.

Since they started raising money in 2015, WHAMM has reached more than £100,000, which is enough to pay for the creation of the statue, however, there’s still £50,000 to go that will pay for installation and other added fees.

As well as encouraging the public to donate through their JustGiving page, the group are hoping to hold more fundraising events until they reach their target.

WHAMM, which is a branch of Wigan Local History and Heritage Group, commissioned Hull-based sculptor, Steve Winterburn whose other local work includes the Billy Boston statue on Believe Square.

Since creating the life-size wax replica of the statue, Steve has now completed the miner and has started work on the child figure using bronze.

Sheila Ramsdale, chair of WHAMM initially came up with the idea of putting a statue in the town centre. She said: “Anyone who has a connection with Wigan has likely had an ancestor work in the pits. Mining in Wigan district was first documented in the 1300’s so there’s a strong history here.

“We want to commemorate the centuries of heritage, the people who suffered and also the incredible contribution Wigan had to the industrial revolution.

“We have had so many generous donations and we are so humbled by the support we’ve received. We’d love to think the sculpture could be installed by May next year, but it’s all dependent on donations.

“We can’t thank the council enough for their fantastic support since the beginning of this project and the money they have pledged has gone an extremely long way.”

Councillors from Ince, Wigan West, Douglas, Wigan Central, Aspull New Springs & Whelley and Orrell have contributed to the latest Brighter Borough boost.

Leader of the council and Ince councillor, David Molyneux said: “We’re more than happy to support this fantastic project, which will instil pride across the borough.

“Wigan Borough is full of loyal residents who are keen to remember their heritage. It is because of this I hope more people will donate to this worthwhile cause.”

WHAMM has been a registered charity since January 2017 and has received other donations from the likes of Heinz, the National Union of Miners and more.

If you’d like to donate to the page, visit www.wiganminingstatue.org.uk where you will find a link to the group’s JustGiving page.