Article on research by volunteers supported by DVLP and Barnsley Archives, carried out by volunteers who put in over 3000 hours. Some points about the photographs though – the Oaks memorial in the Ardsley Church yard numbers the victims at 354 but doesn’t name them, which is why a further memorial is believed to be necessary even though the disaster has not been unremembered. The other memorial is not at Stairfoot but on Kendray Hill, quite close to the original Oaks site although almost 50 years later, and commemorates only the rescuers killed on the second day, particularly Parkin Jeffcock.
Yorkshire Post Oaks Disaster
Local people might be interested in three guided walks led by Stephen Miller to reveal aspects of the disaster related to local sites. They begin on May 31st at 6.30 at Dearne Valley Park in Hoyle Mill and follow on June 7th and 14th.
With another official selection from the Cayman Islands (where a screening would have been wonderful!) there’s also good news about the Remember the Oaks Appeal. People and Mining have now gained charity status and have obtained a grant to develop an educational and information package including activities to support the memorial. More news on this soon but it’s very exciting. It also means that a part time staff administrator will be appointed to the project, which should help greatly with the communication between the various bodies involved in the commemoration of the Oaks – Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership, Yorkshire NUM, People and Mining, and other groups of local volunteers- to emphasise the national and even international significance of the events. To help promote the appeal and attract volunteers, I’ve now made a small number of Blu-Ray copies of the film and these are available to individuals and groups who wish to use them.
The Mayor of Barnsley, Brian Mathers (the “a” is hard, as in “mat”) accepted the first copy from me last might after delivering a talk on the Oaks Disaster to South Yorkshire Industrial Heritage Society at the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley. The fundraising has now passed the £50k mark and the limited edition 361 resin maquettes are going quickly – clubs and organizations are finding them a great prize using a 50-square lottery sheet sold at £3 a square (a 1 in 50 chance isn’t bad for such a unique art object!). Even the £5000 bronze maquettes are going quickly. The next stage is to raise enough money to get the full size memorial cast in bronze.
For the latest news, pictures of the statue being created in Graham’s studio, products you can buy (pins, T-shirts, Alan Wood’s CD of his Oaks Disaster Song, even the Oaks Memorial Beer!) and a quick PayPal link to make a donation (you don’t need a PayPal account) go to https://www.facebook.com/RememberTheOaks/