A SERVICE to remember the 344 men and boys killed in the Pretoria Pit Disaster will be held again this December.

Cllr Ryan Battersby, the Mayor of Westhoughton, organised a service on December 21, 2010 — on the 100th anniversary of the 1910 disaster — at the statue of the lone miner in Ditchfield Gardens.

The early-morning service, which takes place at 7.40am, was held again last year due to a popular response. Westhoughton Town Council has voted in favour of holding the service for a third year.

It will take place on Saturday, December 21, in Ditchfield Gardens where a neckerchief will be tied around the neck of the statue.

The early service allows people who are working to pay their respects.

Maroons are set off at the end of the short service.

The town council agreed that £160 would be spent on the explosives this year.

Cllr Battersby said: “The first time the service was held 35 people attended and there were even more people there last year.

“It’s nice to see everybody coming out and members of the local history group.”

Cllr David Wilkinson, who represents Hoskers and Hart Common, suggested an additional event be held in future to remember the tragedy.