A SERVICE will be held to dedicate memorial stones which pay tribute to every miner who lost his life in the Pretoria Pit disaster.

The ceremony, which will be led by Bolton West MP Julie Hilling, will be a dedication of the two stones, which have the name of each fallen miner enshrined, as well as a thank you to the man who helped make the permanent memorial a reality.

Tony Hogan, from Atherton, has spent the last two years campaigning and gathering funding for the memorial stones.

The 57-year-old, of Hillside Avenue, lost his grandfather in the disaster.

Ms Hilling said: “I am delighted to host this dedication at the site on the commemoration of the Pretoria Pit disaster. I have nothing but admiration for Tony and all that he has achieved at the Pretoria Memorial Wood.

“It is a tribute to his tenacity, and the community spirit of all who have helped him, that the stones have been erected and the site is in such good condition to host this special event.”

Ceremonies have been held at the site, in Pretoria Memorial Wood, for the last two years.

But this year, 102 years since the Pretoria Pit disaster, the two stones have been added to the simple marker put in place by former MP Roger Stott.

The new stones will carry the names and ages of all 350 men and boys killed in the catastrophic explosion that ripped through Pretoria colliery on December 21, 1910.

Rev Gary Lawson and Rev John Howard Norman will dedicate the stones.

Mr Hogan enlisted the support of Peel Holdings, Viridor Credits, Abbey funeral care, The Co-operative Funeral care and Lancashire Area N U M.

He has also received support from Philip Harrison Ornamental Ironworks in Westhoughton, who have constructed the gates at cost price only, and Gerald Butler and committee of The Atherton charity football cup competition.

Terry Daly, Keith Sumner and the Bridger’s community group have helped with the flowers and donated the bench whilst David Partington has done all of the groundwork at the site over the past two years.

At the event, there will be songs from Parkside Colliery Choir, prayers and Andrea Finney will read a poem.