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Appeal for witnesses following theft from mining memorial

Published: 17 May 2024

We are appealing for witnesses following the vandalism and theft from statues to commemorate miners tragically killed at Markham Colliery near Chesterfield.

Sixty steel statues, which form part of the Walking Together Memorial at our Markham Vale Business Park, were damaged over the weekend on 11 and 12 May 2024.

Each of the life-size figures represents an individual miner who died in 1 of 3 disasters at the former colliery which once stood on the site.

Individual bronze tags bearing the name of the miner, his age, occupation and the year of the disaster were removed from each of the figures and stolen, along with plaques detailing how the statues were funded.

A total of 106 statues – 1 for each miner who died in the disasters – form a trail which stretches between the village of Duckmanton, near Chesterfield, to Markham Vale, signifying the journey miners would make from their home to the pit and back again.

Councillor Tony King, our Cabinet Member for Clean Growth and Regeneration, said:

“We are appalled and saddened by the deliberate damage caused to around 60 of the steel figures which have been placed at the site as a memorial to miners who lost their lives at Markham Colliery.

“The memorial was a labour of love for more than 10 years, with the county council working alongside the Markham Vale Heritage Group and artist Stephen Broadbent to complete the display which features 106 statues – one for each man who died in 3 mining disasters at the former pit.

“The memorial was made possible by funding raised through a combination of grants, donations and sponsorship, including from the families of miners who lost their lives, and this is very upsetting for the families of the miners and members of the local community, many of whom enjoyed walking along the memorial trail and whose heritage is rooted in the former colliery.

“We’re working with the police and reviewing CCTV footage to try to identify who is responsible for the damage and we would urge anyone with any information that might help to contact the police.

The police can be contacted by calling 101, on the Derbyshire Police website or on social media via Facebook or X (Twitter) and quote the crime reference number 24000279846.