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Sculpture will be monument to mining heritage

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Bob opening the mining heritage trail at Queensmere with MP Hazel Blears

A former miner is raising funds to construct a sculpture commemorating the mining heritage of Swinton and the surrounding areas.

Bob Docherty and the members of Swinton and Pendlebury Anglers are working with the Forestry Commission in the project, which has already provided funding to lay the concrete foundations.

Around £5,000 is needed to complete the brick plinth and erect the mining artefacts that will make up the sculpture and Bob is now appealing for help from the local community.

The sculpture would be situated on the opposite side of the A666 to Queensmere Dam, where the anglers are based.

The Forestry Commission has worked with the anglers at the dam, which is part of the Lower Irwell Valley Improvement Area (LIVIA), introducing improvements such as floating islands to create habitats for wildlife and a heritage trail depicting 200 years of mining in Swinton, Clifton and Pendlebury.

Phil Lee, Forestry Commission ranger for the area, said:

“This will be a great enhancement to the LIVIA and a fantastic way to honour the history of the area. Bob’s passion has brought this project forward with our help, now he needs support from the local community to make it a reality.”

Bob, 62, is treasurer and youth/coaching development coordinator with the Swinton and Pendlebury Anglers. He worked as a miner for 30 years and ended his career with the Mines Rescue Service.

Bob, of Ellerby Avenue, Swinton said:

“It is very hard to find funding at the moment and it would be fantastic if local businesses could help us and perhaps sponsor the sculpture.

“I worked as a mines rescue officer for years and many men lost their lives in the industry. The mines were a driving force in shaping the Manchester area we see today and we must make sure that heritage is not forgotten.”

Queensmere Dam, near Pendlebury, is located on the site of the old Newtown Colliery which closed in 1961.

Bob said:

“We have been able to get hold of a couple of mining artefacts from the Scottish Mining Museum – an old shearer drum, a coal hutch and a roof support – which we are going to clean up and erect as part of the sculpture. We have also commissioned carved wooden winding wheels that will be included.

“There isn’t any prominent tribute to mining in the Manchester area. This will be about four metres high and will be a real landmark on that busy stretch of road.

“There are many lovely walks around the area that incorporate the dam and this would be a great addition; it could become one large industrial heritage trail in the LIVIA.”

Salford Council and its regeneration body Urban Vision has helped revitalise the area around the dam over the past few years, working alongside the anglers and the Forestry Commission, refurbishing pathways and planting.

For more information or to arrange a photograph please contact Hayley Kearney on 01606 88111.

Notes to Editors

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.  Further information can be found at

Media Contact: Hayley Kearney on 01606 888111 or Richard Topley, of the Forestry Commission, on 01606 324909.