In just over a week’s time that great tradition of the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic will once again take place at Woodhorn Colliery mining museum on the outskirts of Ashington.
It’s an event that has been held for just over 150 years, and although we have no working collieries remaining not only in the county, but in the whole of the British coalfield, it is still of great relevance because it reminds today’s generation about how this part of the world was literally built on coal, providing jobs for many thousands of men and their families.
This year the picnic will be a particularly poignant one because it will be 100 years since 13 men lost their lives one dark Sunday morning at Woodhorn as they worked on a maintenance shift. That morning an explosion ripped through the pit, killing 11 of them instantly, with the remaining two dying in hospital.
At the service which forms such a moving part of picnic day, we will remember those men as we lay wreaths at the monument to them at Woodhorn, as well as the very many more miners who tragically lost their lives in the pursuit of coal.
On a happier note we will be delighted to welcome to the service for the very first time Bishop Christine, the first lady Bishop of Newcastle.
Following the service, which begins at 10.15am, a full programme of events and activities will take place and I do hope you can join us at Woodhorn to once again celebrate this great tradition of ours.