REMEMBERING Ashington’s mining heritage is important to the reverend of the Holy Sepulchre Church.
So much so that the Rev Elizabeth Bland plans to dedicate a special chapel to those who served in the industry.
The church, very much part of the mining community, already hosts the annual service of remembrance as part of the Miners’ Picnic.
But as soon as Rev Bland entered the Wansbeck Road church when she arrived from North Shields three years ago, she felt there was something missing.
She began working on plans for a special chapel in a space near the main altar currently taken up by an old organ no longer in use.
She said: “It seemed to me as soon as I went into the church that it was a wasted space.
“I thought ‘we can make use of that space’.
“Thinking and talking about it and knowing about the mining heritage, I thought maybe we can make it into a chapel.
“I mentioned it to the parochial church council and they liked the idea.
“A lot of the people who come here are former miners themselves, or their fathers or brothers were miners. There is a very strong connection.
“At the Miners’ Picnic for the last few years we have held the memorial service so there is a sort of ongoing connection.”
The altar in the chapel will feature two books of remembrance illuminated by an old miners’ lamp.
The first will enable people to write down their own mining memories and stories, while the second will contain a page for each day of the year, to record the date of a loved one’s passing.
A charge of £10 per entry will raise funds towards the upkeep of the chapel.
Rev Bland said: “It will be a real historic resource for people in years to come.”
Having already raised £10,000 towards the chapel, the parochial church council still has some way to go before it reaches the estimated cost of more than £15,000.
If not finished this year, Rev Bland is hoping the unveiling of the space can coincide with the church’s 125th anniversary celebrations next year.
To make a donation, call Rev Bland on (01670) 813358 or e-mail email@example.com