STUDENTS from across the globe who have moved to the North West have been discovering more about the history and heritage of the place they now call home.

Over Hulton Community Group took 28 students from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Angola and Romania on the Pretoria Pit disaster walk and talk ­— after a chance meeting with John Bullen, a member of the group.

John was stopped by the group after a trip into Rochdale so they could hear a northern accent, which led to him inviting the students on a Home Office sponsored Cultural Integration course on the history tour.

The Pretoria Pit Mining disaster happened 111 years ago when an underground explosion on the morning of December 21 took the lives of 344 local men and boys.

Mining historian Alan Davies led the tour with the group seeing the memorial to those who were killed in the disaster.

The visit also included an emotional rendition of the Pretoria lament, “Johnny” from local folk singer/songwriter Corrie Shelley.

Before the group departed on the train they were taken round to Atherton LR Football Club for refreshments and a chat.

John said: “It was an absolute pleasure to be involved in this event. The students were all so attentive and polite - it created a superb atmosphere of togetherness and community.

“Alan Davies was brilliant as usual and Corrie has never sung better.

“Finishing off at Atherton LR was just perfect.

“What a wonderful opportunity this was for us to be involved in such a high profile project.”

As part of the scheme more students from across the North West are expected to go on the tour and meet members of Over Hulton Community Group.