Doncaster’s mining statue gets the go ahead
Doncaster’s proud mining heritage will be honoured for years to come with the exciting news today that the fundraising drive to build an iconic town centre tribute has been successful.
Individuals, businesses and organisations have been supporting the campaign through online pledges and donations at locations across the borough, an exhibition about the project in the summer attracted over 1,500 visitors, proving quite emotional for some of the visitors, as it brought back memories of their personal experiences. Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, contributing part of her allowance over her four year term to help make the statue a reality and ensuring that an important part of our borough’s history and community gets the recognition it deserves.
The iconic piece of art will draw on the fascinating stories of our former miners and their families and when finished, will be located on Clock Corner easily accessible to Doncaster residents and visitors. It will be the first ever mining statue ever located in the town centre to keep these stories alive for our communities and future generations.
Acclaimed international artist/sculptor Laurence Edwards has been commissioned to design the artwork and met with hundreds of local people. The meetings have held extra significance as Laurence has sculpted the portraits of people from the various mining communities in wax while they have told their stories. These have then been cast in bronze and will be a part of the figurative, bronze mining statue. Now the fundraising target has been achieved, Laurence will start working on the mining statue in the new year and the finished piece of public art will be unveiled in autumn 2019.
There will be a total of 40 bronze portraits of local people from mining communities in the sculpture. 21 of these heads have already been created and Laurence Edwards was in Doncaster last week making six more portraits. Doncaster College filmed the new portrait sessions and these can be viewed via the Doncaster College YouTube page. Doncaster College will also be hosting another photo shoot to capture more local miners and their families. These photos will form part of an online archive, but with 13 heads still to be chosen there is still a chance of being picked to be included in the sculpture.
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “I am delighted that Doncaster will now have a permanent commemoration to its mining history and that the stories of our wonderful miners and their families will be heard by future generations.
“Thank you to everyone who has donated to our fundraising campaign to make the mining statue for Doncaster possible – and who have also shared our determination to ensure that the borough never forgets its proud mining heritage and the communities that grew up around it.”
She added: “From the outset, I was committed to driving forward this important commemoration for Doncaster miners and during the campaign, I have pledged part of my allowance for my four year term of office to help make it happen.
“A mining statue for Doncaster will be a long lasting tribute to the thousands of hard working men and women, whose contribution to the growth and prosperity of the town must never be underestimated, and to those miners whose lives were tragically lost working in the gruelling conditions that many of us could never begin to imagine.
“During the course of the project, we have seen tremendous support from our local former miners and their families who have told us how proud they are that their stories will be told and that in years’ to come their grandchildren can point to the statue and say ‘that’s my grandad or grandma.’”