A permanent memorial to mark the region's worst mining disaster will be erected tomorrow - and mark a successful end to The Northern Echo's campaign to win recognition for the victims of the Stanley pit diaster.

The 9ft 6in long and 3ft high memorial will stand as a memorial to the region's worst mining disaster, the 1909 West Stanley Burns Pit explosion.

Work to erect the £5,600 memorial starts tomorrow ahead of a the official unveiling by the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd David Pritchard, in Stanley, County Durham, on Saturday, March 5.

The Northern Echo and The Consett and Stanley Advertiser launched the campaign to have the graves marked and the Stanley Burns Pit Disaster Memorial Committee was later formed. The push was backed by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Newcastle United legend Kevin Keegan whose grandfather, Frank, survived the disaster.

Money has come from the NUM who gave £1,000 to key campaign organisation the St Andrew's Parochial Church Council, The Coalfields Regeneration Trust who gave £900 and Durham County Council. However most of the near £6,000 raised came from smaller donations from descendants of the dead.

The three-piece, dark grey, South African granite memorial is being made by Scott's Memorials which has its headquarters in Seaham, east Durham. The names will engraved with gold lettering. An image of a pit pony will also be sandblasted on. It refers to the story of Billy Gardner and his pit pony which survived the disaster. The pitman walked round the streets of Stanley with a tin bath strapped to the pony and people threw in money for the families of the deceased.

Mark Delaney, co-owner of the family business has worked personally on the project. He said: "We're just proud to be involved with this." The disaster killed 168 men and boys but the stone will only name the 118 buried behind St Andrew's Church. It will be the first time the 54 men and boys in the mass burial trenches, including a number of fathers and sons who lie side-by-side, will be marked. The other names include people individual graves in the cemetery but with no headstone and others whose headstones have been destroyed. Those who died in the explosion but are buried elsewhere in Stanley and across the North-East will not be referred to. There are two memorials to all the dead already in the small, former mining town.