Prince of Wales coal pit memorial unveiled in Pontefract by former miners

A memorial at the Prince of Wales coal pit in Pontefract has been unveiled today by a former miner who worked at the colliery.

86-year-old John Hopkins opened the memorial today alongside Pontefract Mp Yvette Cooper, representatives from the National Union of Miners and miners who worked the final shift at the coal pit.

John, one of the oldest former employees, said: "I worked at Prince of Wales for over twenty years. During its heyday, the pit employed over 2,000 men produced a record-breaking 34,000 tonnes of coal per week.

"Over the years I witnessed some brilliant times and great camaraderie, but also some real tragedy. This memorial honours all those who worked at Prince of Wales and will ensure that the legacy of local miners, and their families is never forgotten."

John Hopkins unveiling the memorial today.

The memorial has been funded after a long-running campaign by Yvette Cooper, local Councillors and former Prince of Wales miners and £50,000 funding from the regeneration company Harworth Group.

The artwork will stand five metres tall at the entrance to the Prince of Wales redevelopment opposite Pontefract racecourse.

Yvette Cooper said: "It is fantastic to see this wonderful memorial finally in place. We’ve been working over many, many years to get this.

"Prince of Wales colliery was a vital part of our history for 140 years and we are proud of that.

"Pontefract was built on liquorice and coal - that is why we wanted this memorial here at the gateway to Pontefract as well as the gateway to the Prince of Wales site so everyone can see this proud tribute to the miners who worked here through the generations, powering the country, as well as the families and communities who supported them."