WORK has started on a replica of the last banner used at a North-East colliery before it closed.

Ryhope Colliery, near Sunderland, shut in the mid-1960s. The Ryhope Colliery Banner Fund was set up to raise the £6,500 needed to produce a copy of its last standard.

The Community Chest group has donated £1,000 towards the cost.

Malcolm Smith, of the Banner Fund committee, which is based at the Community Association Welfare Hall, in Ryhope, said: "The banner will serve an important purpose by renewing interest in Ryhope's former role as a colliery village.

"It will also help future generations remain aware of the values which brought people together to build the character of our community."