FAMILIES of workers killed on the job will hold a parade and service in a County Durham village next week in memory of their loved ones.

Linda Whelan is organising the service on Monday, April 28, to mark Worker’s Memorial Day in memory of her son Craig, who was killed 12 years ago.

She is urging other families who have lost loved ones at work and the public to join a walk through Stanley Crook near Crook, County Durham, followed by a service in the village church.

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A lone drummer will lead the procession while a brass band will perform at the church.

Ms Whelan co-founded the campaign group Families Against Corporate Killers (Fack) after her son’s death.

She said: “It is estimated that that 140 people a day, or six per hour, are killed at work in Great Britain every year.

“Compare this with 532 murders last year and 620 British Soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan over 11 years and you understand why more needs to be done.

“If one person dies at work due to poor health and safety, it is one person too many.”

Steeplejack Craig Whelan from Willington, County Durham, was 23 when he was killed by an explosion in an old industrial chimney in Bolton.

Mr Whelan and another man, Paul Wakefield, 40, from Nottingham, were dismantling the chimney from a suspended hoist when their cutting equipment ignited gases causing a fireball.

The blaze burned through the support cables holding the hoist and the pair fell 100 feet to their deaths.

Three factory managers were later fined a total of £17,000 for safety breaches, although a judge said they had not deliberately cut costs at the expense of health and safety.

Memorial walkers are asked to meet at the bus turning point in the east end of Stanley Crook at 6.30pm with the service starting at 7pm at St Thomas’ Church at the west of the village.

Professor Huw Beynon and Mark Clelland will be guest speakers followed by a presentation by FACK and a display of industrial and mining banners provided by the Beamish Museum.