Handcrafted, illustrated benches, made in tribute to miners, have been unveiled at a special ceremony at Gedling Country Park.
Gedling Colliery miners, dressed in full mining gear, as well as school children who helped to design the benches unveiled the benches at the event. Also in attendance were the Friends of Gedling Country Park and local councillors, who jointly commissioned the benches and a new interpretation board.
The two specially designed benches – one which depicts an underground mining scene and the other an over ground image – were designed by local artist Richard Janes, who worked with GCSE art students from Christ the King Secondary Academy, in Arnold.
The Friends of Gedling Country Park and Gedling Borough Council have been developing the memorial garden within the country park for over two years and had already installed several large metal ‘rings’ to mark the entrance, which were previously used underground to maintain the stability of the mining tunnels. The artist Richard Janes also designed the ‘flaming tree’ sculpture, which was installed in the memorial garden in December 2017.
Councillor Peter Barnes, Portfolio Holder for Environment said,
“These benches look absolutely brilliant and are a fitting tribute to the miners who worked on the colliery site. I’d like to thank the Friends of Gedling Country Park, the artist Richard Janes and the students from Christ the King who have all been involved in making these wonderful benches.”
Richard Janes, the artist who built the benches said,
“The benches tell the story of the Colliery at Gedling. The overground story with the headstocks and landscape of the pit, the underground story with the miners, tunnels, lamps and pit ponies .
The students at Christ the King were shown the ideas and inspirations that went into the Gedling flame tree and devised their own amazing designs. These then fed into the design of the decorative panels for the benches.”
Terry Lock, Chair of Friends of Gedling Country Park said,
“This memorial garden is the result of over two years’ work by the Friends volunteers and with the help and financial support of Gedling Borough Council, as well as additional contributions from the Co-op and Nottinghamshire County Council. We are very proud of what we have achieved for our community and hope it offers a place of solace and quiet reflection for all to enjoy.”
Gedling Colliery was the life-blood of the village and its surrounding areas for nearly a century, until it closed in 1991. The site stood derelict for over 20 years before being transformed into a country park in March 2015.