A PROUD son flew more than 10,000 miles to allow his father’s bravery to be celebrated in the community he served.
Bill Partington and colleague Joe Parry risked their lives to save a fellow miner from almost certain death at Llay Main Colliery in 1952.
The two men received the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct, recognising the courage shown.
On Friday, Mr Partington’s son Tony presented his father’s bravery plaque certificate to the heritage centre at Llay Miners Welfare after flying in from Melbourne, Australia.
It will now be on permanent display alongside the certificate presented to Mr Parry, which has also been donated to the heritage centre.
Mr Partington, 65, who was joined by his wife Sue and other family members at the handover ceremony, said: “I am really quite emotional today.
“I was contacted by them and I decided I wanted to hand this over.
“I wanted the people here to be able to see it.
“I am very proud of my father. He was my best mate. He was very modest about what he did.”
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, held at the museum, local historian Vic Tyler-Jones told the story of Mr Partington’s bravery on June 25, 1952, when the roof at the coal face fell in.
George Williams, of Old Rhosrobin, was trapped and pinned down by an iron roof support.
“Luckily for George, Bill Partington, a pit deputy, and Joe Parry, a shot firer, were close at hand and began the dangerous work to free him,” said Mr Tyler-Jones.
“They worked for more than 45 minutes with stones and debris still falling on and around them from the roof and using their bare hands they eventually released George and pulled him clear.
“Immediately after the three men managed to scramble clear of the fall area, a massive stone which had hung over the men’s heads during the rescue fell, bringing with it another massive roof collapse.
“This would have killed all of them had they remained a second longer. George escaped with abrasions and injuries to his hand and face and his rescuers also damaged their hands in the process of removing the debris.”
Six months later Mr Partington and Mr Parry received the Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct.
Mr Partington, who later ran the New Black Horse, Rhostyllen, died in 1981 aged 65.
Mr Parry was a miner throughout his working life and died, aged 82, in the late 1990s.
Mr Parry’s son John Parry, who also attended Friday’s ceremony, said: “They were big mates. I can recall him talking about Bill Partington.
“It is nice their awards are now next to each other.”
Mr Tyler-Jones said having both awards alongside each other would allow Mr Partington and Mr Parry to “forever be together” in the same glass case.
Malcolm Williams, chairman of the heritage centre’s steering committee, said: “I am very pleased that we now have the two certificates together in our museum.
“For somebody from Australia to come all this way and to give this to us is very much appreciated.”
Mr Williams said he believed Mr Parry and Mr Partington are the only miners from Llay to have received bravery awards.