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Banks Group help fund mining heritage project

Replica coal wagon

Four-figure grant from Banks Community Fund puts North Walbottle Waggonway Group on the right path

THE work of a west Newcastle community improvement group dedicated to preserving and enhancing its local mining heritage has received a four-figure boost from The Banks Group’s Banks Community Fund.

The North Walbottle Waggonway Group aims to preserve and enhance the ecology, wildlife and industrial heritage of the local area, with particular emphasis on improving the historic waggonway which served the North Walbottle Colliery until its closure in the late 1960s.

The group’s long-term goal has been to place a replica coal truck at each end of the waggonway, along with information boards about the area’s history to help local people and walkers passing through the area to find out more about it.

Now, thanks to the grant funding, the Group has been able to place a truck at the entrance to the waggonway.

A public information board has also been erected in the same location which informs bridle path users of the Group’s work, makes links to the ecology of the site and highlights the local work of other organizations including Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Newcastle City Council.

Keith Batey, chair of the North Walbottle Waggonway Association, said: ‘Our group’s aim is to preserve local awareness and knowledge of the area’s heritage, enhance local wildlife and ecology, make improvements to the infrastructure where we can, and secure the waggonway for future generations to enjoy.

‘The bridle path is the central focus for our activities and our volunteers have put a lot of time and effort into improving its condition over the last few years.

‘We’ve already had a very positive response to the new truck and information boards from both local residents and visitors, and we’ve got plans to do a lot more in the future which will help us celebrate what we have here.’

‘It would have taken us much longer to raise the money we needed for this project without The Banks Group’s backing and we’re very grateful for their generous support.’

Jeannie Raine, community relations manager at The Banks Group, added: ‘The members of the North Walbottle Waggonway Group have made a massive difference to their local environment in the last few years.

‘As a long-standing North East mining business, we’re very pleased to be able to fund a project that celebrates the area’s mining heritage by using revenues generated by our present-day mining operations.’

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