The lost lives of 266 men in the Gresford Colliery Disaster will be marked in an annual memorial service.

In the early hours of Saturday, September 22, 1934, the tragedy took the lives of local men and boys and affected the whole of Wrexham with almost every village in the county borough losing someone.

At 2.08am, a violent explosion tore through the Dennis Section of the Gresford Colliery mine, leaving an underground fire.

It had been a busy shift as many miners were ‘doubling up’ so they could watch the Wrexham match on Saturday afternoon against Tranmere Rovers.

Over 200 rescue workers were sent down to rescue the miners, with three also losing their lives. In total, just six men survived the disaster, and only 11 bodies were ever recovered.

An annual memorial ceremony will be held at Miner’s Wheel Memorial in Pandy to commemorate the lives lost in the 89th anniversary of the disaster.

Read more: Wall in honour of Gresford Disaster victims complete

It will be held at 11am on Friday, September 22 and local schools are invited to attend the service.

The Vicar of Llay, Huw Butler, will conduct the service and prayers. Llay Welfare Band will traditionally play the hymn tune 'Gresford' written by ex-miner Robart Saint after the disaster which is known throughout the world as the Miner's Hymn. 

Last year Wrexham Football Club sent players over to attend the opening of the memorial wall at the Miners Rescue Centre, where the names of those lost are now displayed, along with their ages and where they were from.

It is a well-attended event and afterwards refreshments are held at Gresford Colliery Sports and Social Club.

The names of those men lost can be viewed on the erected plaque, adjacent to the wheel.

The service by the wheel is open for all to attend. Gresford Sports & Social Club next door kindly allow their car park to be used and will be open after the service.

Families are also invited to lay flowers at the wheel. Just two people are two of the few children left of the miners that perished, Ruby McBurney and her Brother Cyril Crump. They are 92 (in October) and 93 years old.

Joseph Cledwyn Dodd, now aged 90, is another surviving child being two years and two days old when it happened. His father,  Thomas Dodd aged 39 a ripper from Rhos. He was thought to have been a keen amateur football referee and was preparing for a venue in Wrexham. He changed shift because he thought he needed more time as with it being September and the beginning of the new season he thought he would need more time to get to the football ground and prepare.