Community Fundraising Campaign for Markham Colliery Mining Memorial Trail

‘Walking Together’ is a significant mining memorial remembering 106 miners who lost their lives in 3 major disasters at Markham Colliery, Derbyshire. It is led by the voluntary Markham Vale Heritage Group and Derbyshire Council, who are seeking donations to help complete this important project whilst living relatives are still able to engage and benefit.

This project has been accepted onto the Aviva Community Fund to generate donations through a crowdfunder to specifically commemorate Arthur Roper, aged 61, whose grandson is still living, he was only 6 when his grandfather died in the 1938 disaster.

Jude Brooks, UK Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Aviva, said:
“We know that even the smallest charities can have a massive impact in building stronger communities. The ambition of the Aviva Community Fund is ‘Teach a man to fish’ rather than ‘Give a man a fish’. By focussing on training and coaching from Aviva’s people, as well as enabling fundraising we hope to help causes become more self-sustaining. We are extremely proud to support the Markham Colliery Memorial Trail and look forward to enabling them to bring ideas to life. By caring more about our community today we can all create a better future tomorrow, so we hope the local community feels inspired to support their crowdfunding campaign too.”

106 miners lost their lives in the disasters of 1937,1938 & 1973 which had a huge impact on the local communities and the surviving relatives with some households losing up to 3 members of their families at once. 

Following community consultation, artist Stephen Broadbent designed 106 steel figures to create a public walking trail that symbolizes each of the miners’ journeys to the pit and back.  Each figure has a circular bronze miner’s tag fixed on his chest. On the underside is stamped the name of the miner killed, his age and occupation. On the front of the tag is stamped the name and year of the disaster, encouraging the visitor to touch the very personal and tactile tags.

Visitors can re-imagine and remember the lives of all miners, and in particular those who lost their lives for their work. The walking trail supports outdoor wellbeing and active lifestyles especially during covid restrictions and creates an important physical learning resource for the next generation alongside further online resources via  sharing stories of mining life and each of the 106 miners. 

The Markham Vale Heritage Group helps to guide the project and includes 25 dedicated local volunteers representing friends and relatives of miners killed, local historians, residents and local schools. This project started over eight years ago and has lots of local support and has reconnected many families through the important research by volunteers. Funding has been incremental with support through community fundraising, grants and business sponsorship.

Sandra Struggles, local historian and volunteer for the Markham Vale Heritage Group said: 
“There are now only 18 men left to commemorate to complete the trail of 106 lost in the three disasters. Although the walks, talks and stories could still go ahead it would be sad to have the remaining 18 miners left out and it could mean that the families of those 18 men will miss what we have done for all the others. 

Markham Colliery played a big part in the lives of some 22 nearby villages and it is important that school children know about their local heritage which is something we have already started to do. Everyone involved has worked so hard to gather stories and information and are wanting so much to pass it onto the next generation.” 

To find out more and make a donation visit: 

Donations can be made by online card payments for any amount and Aviva employees will be able to top up public donations through their company scheme! Our minimum target to support each figure is £2,100 and the Crowdfunder is set up so that any funds raised can be kept towards the project. Donations can be made between 16 February - 17 March 2021.

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