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New mining statue unveiled in Seaton Delaval

By Kris Jepson

A new statue to honour the mining heritage of Northumberland has been unveiled in Seaton Delaval.

Carved from a white willow tree, local artist Tom Newstead was commissioned by Seaton Valley Community Council to create the sculpture.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

The sculpture illustrates two miners, along with lamps, cats and canaries.

Tom Newstead is the son of a miner and travelled the world as a Merchant Navy assistant carpenter.

Seaton Sluice Artist

His artwork is culturally eclectic, taking inspiration from a diverse range of cultures and countries he visited when travelling the world.

The story of the tree is written there. The faces are the spirit of the tree. Even going down to the idea of the canary in the cage, which the miners took down the mines to see if it was safe for gases and what have you. The tree itself is a representation of the forgotten heroes of the North East and therefore that's the story of the white willow tree.

– Tom Newstead, Artist

He lived in America, Africa, Costa Rica, Bermuda, and India. He said each new continent, land and city brought with it a new perspective within which he saw different art forms which he would later work with and manipulate into a style that he now uniquely stamps as his own.

Tom said he was taught his craft by a "truly remarkable" tradesman when he was an apprentice boat builder at Lambies, Northumberland.

Mining statue, Seaton Delaval Credit: ITV News

Blyth Valley MP, Ronnie Campbell, cut the ribbon to unveil the art piece, entitled The Tambourine Man.

I think it's great. I've seen a lot of Tom's work and I think that's one of his best. Especially from a tree trunk that was just lying basically rotting and he's done a wonderful job of it. I'm not saying it's as good as the Angel of the North, but it's our Angel, let's put it that way. Mining Angel.

– Ronnie Campbell MP, Labour, Blyth Valley
Mining statue, Seaton Delaval