THE 43 boys and men who died in Kearsley’s worst mining disaster were remembered in a special service on Tuesday.

A service was held at the memorial to those who died in the Unity Brook Colliery tragedy on March 12, 1878.

Today a poignant replica coal tub is stationed near to the site of the disaster.

It bears the image of a pocket watch clock face showing the time as 1.07pm — the time the explosion ripped through the pit.

A short service attended by schoolchildren took place at 1pm with the names of those who died read out by youngsters in Kearsley.

Prayers were also said close to where the disaster took place.

The memorial service follows a number of events last year to remember those who died, which included a special service at St Stephen’s Church and a fundraising effort to install a permanent tribute.

It was the first formal service in tribute to the 43 in modern times, and now they are set to be remembered by those who pass the memorial.

Hundreds turned up to the service and the unveiling of the memorial last year.

Stephen Tonge, of Churches on the Mount, said: “Over 30 children from both St Stephen’s CE Primary and Spindle Point Primary schools in Kearsley attended the memorial service for Unity Brook Colliery Disaster on its 141st Anniversary.

“Bernie Lomax, a direct descendant of one of the victims, read out a description of the disaster and details of the numbers killed.

“Then pupils read out each name of the victims.

“A minute’s silence was observed then the Rev Kim Lafferty lead the prayers.”

The memorial was unveiled last year as part of plans to remember those who had lost their lives in the disaster when an explosion ripped through the mine.

The blast brought down the shaft and uplifted the iron plates which formed the pits. The youngest casualty was 12-years-old.

The coal tub stands 50 metres from where the colliery used to be.

It was unveiled by blacksmith Darren Block, who created it, and Mrs Lomax, whose great grandfather, John Tickle Lomax, was one of those who died in the tragedy.

A special service was held at the start of last year.

The idea for a service came from Billy Kelly, secretary of the National Union of Miners, from Farnworth ,who approached Mr Tonge, community officer for Churches on the Mount. N

And schools and local organisations were invited to be involved in the 140th Anniversary Commemoration Service.