Tribute to victims of pit disaster

Ashley McKnight, director Bob Webb, Erin McKnight, teacher Julie Meardo, Joe Colpitts and Megan Moody.
Ashley McKnight, director Bob Webb, Erin McKnight, teacher Julie Meardo, Joe Colpitts and Megan Moody.
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PUPILS at a North Tyneside school are helping a theatre group pay tribute to the victims of one of the region’s worst mining disasters, many of them younger than the children themselves.

North Tyneside Community Theatre is performing Hester, a play based on the Hartley Pit tragedy of 150 years ago, this week.

The production, featuring music by Backworth Colliery Band, is being staged just two miles away from the mine at Seaton Delaval Hall until Saturday.

Director Bob Webb visited Wallsend’s Battle Hill Primary School after hearing that pupils there had put on an exhibition of work marking the deaths of 204 men and boys in 1862.

And he was so impressed by what he saw that he arranged for their artwork to be displayed at Seaton Delaval Hall while the performances are taking place.

Teacher Julie Meardon added: “I really feel that history has come alive.

“Working with our children and the theatre group has been an excellent learning experience for all involved, and we are looking forward to seeing the production.

“The children have really paid tribute to those who lost their lives, many of whom were even younger than the schoolchildren themselves.”

The production has been funded by the Arts Council and is supported by North Tyneside Council and the National Trust.

Tickets are available from the Enjoymuzic shop at Royal Quays in North Shields or by calling (0191) 296 6544, priced £12, £9 for concessions.