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70th anniversary of the William Pit disaster

104 men were killed in the disaster at William Pit Credit: ITV Border

A memorial service is taking place in Whitehaven to mark the 70th anniversary of one of the worst mining disasters in the town.

104 men were killed after an explosion at William Pit. It happened at 5.40pm on 15 August 1947, two and a half miles underground.

To mark the exact moment, people will gather for a service at the site to remember those who died at 5.30 this afternoon. Tim Backshall visited Whitehaven's North Shore ahead of the service:

William Pit memorial service in Whitehaven

104 people were killed in the explosion Credit: ITV Border

Today marks the 70th anniversary of one of west Cumbria's worst mining disasters. 104 people were killed in the explosion in the William Pit in Whitehaven. It happened two and a half miles underground, on 15 August 1947.

A memorial service will take place at the site at around 5.30 this afternoon, the same time the accident happened.

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Whitehaven historic walks to take place over summer

The walks will start from the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven Credit: ITV Border

A series of free historic guided tours has been launched by The Beacon Museum in Whitehaven, in the hopes it will educate both local residents and tourists on the region.

The Whitehaven Walks will run twice daily, every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday throughout the summer.

The trails will depart from The Beacon Museum at 11.30am and 2pm, lasting around 90 minutes. The morning tour focuses on the history of the town centre, while the afternoon trail explores the "picturesque harbourside".

Doing these trails is a way of looking at our town differently and seeing how the past has shaped what we have today. The marina as an example has hundreds of stories to tell and the museum wants to get the local community engaging with the past.”

– Matthew Bland, The Beacon Museum Tour Guide and a St Benedict’s School pupil

Police appeal for potential witnesses of Whitehaven assault

Credit: PA

Police are investigating a grievous bodily harm assault which took place in Whitehaven on Sunday 2nd July, in which a 30-year-old woman was seriously injured.

Two women, aged 25 and 36, both from Whitehaven, were arrested in relation to the assault and have been released under investigation.

Police wish to speak to potential witnesses, including a taxi driver who they say picked up a lone female passenger that day, between midnight and 2am from Whitehaven Town Centre, and took the fair to Derwentwater road in Whitehaven.

Burst sewer affects Whitehaven harbour

The burst pipe has caused some damage to the road Credit: Creative Commons

Visitors to Whitehaven harbour are being warned to expect some disruption after a sewer burst on West Strand yesterday evening.

The burst caused some damage to the road and has resulted in temporary access arrangements at the West Strand Marina and car park, Old New Quay car park and The Beacon Museum.

Initial repair work in the early hours of Friday 21 July revealed that the pipe, which normally carries wastewater from the local pumping station up to Whitehaven treatment works, is covered in concrete.

United Utilities say they took the decision to stop work at 3am and continue this morning:

We’ll continue to liaise with Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners and Copeland Council to get things back to normal as quickly as possible and minimise any disruption in the harbour area over the weekend.”

– Andrew Kendall, Area Business Manager, United Utilities

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Police investigate sexual assault of 14-year-old girl by man in Whitehaven

The teenage girl was approached on Duke street in Whitehaven Credit: Google maps

Police are investigating the report of a 14-year-old girl being sexually assaulted in Whitehaven, Cumbria.

The girl picked up by a man in a car on Duke Street some time between 11.45pm and midnight on Friday 14 July.

The man sexually assaulted the girl in the light-coloured large estate vehicle.

He is described as around 40 years old, of a large build, with rough skin. He had very short spikey grey hair with dark brown parts and spoke with a local accent.

Anyone who witnessed the vehicle approach the teenager on Duke Street or who has more information is urged to contact the police on 101 or by emailing 101@cumbria.police.uk, asking to speak to DC 2305 Rae, citing incident number incident number 2 of 15 July 2017. Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Whitehaven town to go through 'clean-up blitz'

The 'clean-up blitz' is in addition to regular street cleaning services provided by Copeland Council Credit: Copeland Borough Council

Copeland Council and Whitehaven Town Council have teamed up for an "intensive clean-up" "targeting the whole town centre". The councils say they will focus on the main shopping areas of King Street, Duke Street, Tangier Street and Market Place.

It is being done in advance of what they call a busy summer period in town.

Our team does an excellent job every day, in terms of cleaning our streets, picking up litter and emptying bins. Our resources are stretched and we have a large borough to concentrate on, and I commend our staff for their work. This intensive blitz will build on that good work and will concentrate on Whitehaven town centre ahead of a busy time for the town. We’re happy to be working in partnership with Whitehaven Town Council on this project to make the town look its best for our residents and visitors."

– Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland
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