WORK has begun on a memorial which will be erected to mark the last working deep mine in North Wales.
Most of the men in the Flintshire village of Ffynnongroyw worked at the Point of Ayr colliery, near Prestatyn.
And yesterday, a ceremony took place which marked the start of a project which will see one of the original pitheads return to the village.
Flintshire council chairman Carolyn Thomas cut the first sod on the site where the memorial will stand in preparation for a plinth made of Gwespyr stone and a paved path.
Once refurbished, the pit head currently on display at Greenfield Heritage Park will serve as a permanent reminder of the town’s history. Work is due to be completed in April or May.
The pit which opened in the 1880s and which at its peak employed as many as 500 workers, closed in 1996 after more than 100 years of mining.
Finally, seating and interpretation boards telling the history of the mine and its part in the life of the village will be erected alongside.
Mike Jones, secretary of the Ffynnongroyw Mining and Village Heritage Group (FMVHG), which campaigned for the memorial, said that during the pit’s heyday the sense of community in the village would have been enormous.
“Ffynnongroyw was built as a mining village,” he said. “The memorial is about bringing back the identity of the village.
“All the heritage is passing out of living memory and if we don’t do something to preserve it, it’s going to go.”
Planning permission was granted for the memorial to be built on the Flintshire Council-owned land and fundraising efforts have been ongoing in the village to prepare the land and pay for the works.
Flintshire councillor for Ffynnongroyw Glyn Banks praised the efforts of the heritage group, which he said had raised more than £4,200 for the project and he thanked rural development agency Cadwyn Clwyd, which is paying 70 per cent of the total costs.
“Pretty much everyone who lived in the village had something to do with the pit,” said Cllr Banks.
“Mining was a massive part of the village but it’s been in danger of being forgotten about. This will change all that and hopefully bring more tourism to the village as well.”