A MEMORIAL service has been held to mark the 110th anniversary of a coal mining disaster which claimed the lives of 168 men and boys.

It was held on Saturday afternoon at the colliery wheel, near the site of the former Burns Pit in Stanley, where North Durham Academy now stands.

It was at 3.45pm on February 16, 1909, when two underground explosion tore through the pit killing the miners as they worked.

Councillor David Marshall, leader of Stanley Town Council, said: “It is vital to our community that we mark the tragedy that befell Stanley 110 years ago and the way in which the whole community pulled together in the aftermath of the disaster.

“It also gives us the opportunity to remember all the miners from our county who lost their lives in the quest for coal, and those still suffering from injuries and diseases sustained in the coal industry.

“Our whole area was built on coal, and as a community we are proud of that heritage.”