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Mining Disaster

Welcome home - iconic miner returned to

 rightful place at Auchengeich

Kirkintilloch Herald 09 June 2010

But last week there was emotion and pride as the new statue an exact replica of the original was unveiled at the memorial in Moodiesburn, within the shadow of the Auchengeich Miners Welfare Club.

Special guests included Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Tom Clarke, Coatbridge and Chryston MSP Elaine Smith and local school pupils.

Businessman Brian Dempsey, a strong supporter of the memorial committee, conducted the proceedings.

He said: "It's a very special day here at the 'Geich' to be welcoming home your miner."

Mr Salmond, who attended the 50th anniversary of the tragedy, said he "wouldn't have missed" the unveiling of the new statue.

He added: "The Auchengeich miner has been restored to its rightful place thanks to the determination of all those who were not beaten by this act of theft. "

Former miner Willie McGarvie had just finished a nightshift at the Auchengeich Colliery when tragedy struck.

The 75-year-old said: "I couldn't believe it when the statue was stolen, it broke my heart. Everyone has rallied round to get it back up again.

"It brought a wee tear to me eye."

The new statue cost around 30,000, which was funded by North Lanarkshire Council, East Dunbartonshire Council and Auchengeich Memorial Committee. Special security has been installed to guard the memorial.