A MEMORIAL service has been held in a former colliery town for those killed in a mining disaster 72 years ago.

Stanley has a huge mining heritage with four mines making up the 'fourth north district'.

However in 1947 there was an explosion that ripped through the Louisa Pit and the Morrison North Pit killing 22 people.

A service was held on the 23 to remember them at the memorial outside the Louisa centre.

Many gathered to pay there respects, they were joined by the mayor and deputy mayor and the leader of the council.

Relatives and descendants of those killed attended to pay their respects.

The Northern Echo:

The memorial was re-dedicated last year after being moved from its original site in a church yard to its current location.

The stone was brought about by four men in 1997 after a huge fund raising effort.

Jack Hair a local historian, Reverend Geoff Lawes and Terry Fenwick raised the money and were present at the service.

Mr Lawes said: " The stone is granite which will last forever, it is curved downwards to show the route the miners took down into the earth, it is rough to reflect the miners life."

He went to the quarry to personally pick out the stone. "If they are looking down on us they would be thrilled."

Mr Hair said "Its in a lovely location with the trees and the flowers."

The Northern Echo:

Leader of Stanley Town Council Les Timbey said: "It's a fitting memorial, for the mining area we must never forget our heritage. We had a brilliant turnout and great weather."

Carole Hampson, Mayor of the town, said: "We are hoping to make more of it and make it a yearly event, we think its very important for our towns history, hopefully it will grow year on year."

The Northern Echo:

The town will host a 'Miners Sunday' this weekend with attractions such as old fashioned fairground rides and the miners banners.