LOTTERY money is to be used to help fund a new history of part of the North-East's contribution to the economy.

Former Teesside ICI workers Denis Carroll and John Robinson were reminiscing about the company and lamenting how a way of life would soon be forgotten, and decided something should be done about it.

The Heritage Lottery Fund agreed and gave them £49,450 for an oral history project to record the memories of people who worked in Teesside's heavy industries and chemical companies.

Volunteers will interview up to 100 people, and the tapes will stored by Teesside University, where the volunteers will be trained.

Retired ICI rigger and trade union official Mr Carroll, who lives in Norton, said local schools were already showing an interest in the project.

He said: "We had no idea when we began that this would turn into such a major project. But everyone agrees that it is important, and we are thrilled that the Lottery fund has been able to help us."

Chemical company ICI has now gone from Billingham, where its significance in the growth of the town is lost on many young people.

Keith Bartlett, of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "Teesside owes its existence to the industrial heyday, and it is vital that this is captured for future generations to learn about and appreciate."

Mr Carroll and his team are encouraging the community to become involved in the Teesside Industrial Memories Project through talks, presentations and exhibitions.

The project will hold a meeting at the New Life resource and conference centre, in Low Grange Avenue, Billingham, at 7.30pm tomorrow.