Today's Object of the week is a stunning sculpture which should perhaps be better known.

THERE are many fine sculptures in the North-East and North Yorkshire and today’s Object of the Week shines a light on what is perhaps one of the most dramatic.

The Fishburn Miners’ Memorial is a dramatic reminder of the village’s links to its industrial past.

They were dark, dirty and dangerous places to work but coal mines were once the lifeblood of communities across the North-East, providing work for generations of boys and men.

The work was far from glamorous and hundreds of miners, including children, lost their lives toiling to build a future for their families and for their communities.

It was that sentiment which led the County Durham village, led by by the Fishburn Millennium Group, to came together to remember the colliery which was at the heart of the community from 1911 to 1973

More than three years of planning and fundraising went into creating the memorial, which is now a centrepiece of the village green.

The sculpture, by Northumberland artist Keith Maddison, is of a life-size bronze miner encased in blocks of sandstone, who appears to be emerging from a shaft.

The Northern Echo: Fundraising for the sculpture was a community effort, resulting in a compelling memorial which ‘captures the soul of a miner’s work’

Originally, a full-size bronze statue was proposed, but the Millennium Group was unable to raise the money required. So Mr Maddison came up with an alternative proposal within the group’s budget – a smaller sculpture emerging from stone.

The funds for the sculpture were raised and work on the memorial took 15 months to complete.

The stone was not included in the price, but following an appeal in The Northern Echo, W and M Thompson quarry, in nearby Bishop Middleham, came forward to donate the limestone.

The sculpture was unveiled in July 2003 by village GP Dr Keith Beveridge and blessed by local vicar the Reverend Susan Richardson, accompanied by music from Fishburn Brass Band.

Chairman of Fishburn Parish Council, Cllr Andrew Pearson, said “This memorial to all the men who worked, and those who died in Fishburn Colliery, is a focal point on our village green, especially when it is lit at night.

“The sculptor has really captured the soul of a miner’s work. It shows a man working on the face, and the typical height of a seam in the local coal mine. I think the life-size statue is one of the most unique mining memorials.”

He said there are plans to further enhance the memorial, adding: “The parish council has discussed making a feature of the stone miner with some planting for Fishburn’s entry in this year’s Northumbria in Bloom competition in the Large Village class for which we won the Silver Award in 2019.”