A congregation of over one hundred and seventy people, which included the Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland, the Mayor of Loftus and Tom Blenkinsop MP; attended a special Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving for the Cleveland Ironstone Industry at St Helen’s Parish Church Carlin How on the afternoon of Sunday 6th July 2014.
By invitation of The Rector, The Reverend Adam Gaunt, the Service was led by The Right Reverend Paul Ferguson Bishop of Whitby. The occasion was Bishop Paul’s first service on his first Sunday in office as Bishop of Whitby.
The Bishop of Whitby said, “I was delighted to accept the invitation to be with the people of East Cleveland for this special service. Today’s service of thanksgiving was a wonderful way to begin my new ministry. As a former Archdeacon of Cleveland I am conscious of our rich industrial heritage and I will endeavour to promote and celebrate this heritage in my new position as Bishop of Whitby.”
During the prayers of remembrance, eight special candles were lit by local residents: seven symbolising those mines within the Cleveland area which remained operational until the late 1950s and early 1960s. Meanwhile, the eighth candle was dedicated to the many other Cleveland Ironstone Mines and was lit by the Worshipful the Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland.
Over twenty members of the North Skelton Band provided outstanding music for before, after and during the service. This was another link to the Cleveland Ironstone Heritage as the North Skelton Band began its life as the North Skelton Miners Band. Poignantly, the North Skelton Mine was the last of the Cleveland pits to close, closing fifty years ago this year, on the 17th January 1964.
St Helen’s Parish Church was also highly decorated for the service with numerous floral displays created by members of the Loftus and District Flower Club. Club members enthusiastically supported the event, incorporating miner’s lamps, iron ore and many other items associated with the Cleveland Pits into their displays.
Father Adam Gaunt said, “Today’s service was a fantastic opportunity for us to come together and to celebrate the rich industrial heritage of Cleveland and Teesside. I am exceptionally grateful to all who have been involved in the planning of this wonderful event. As a community, I truly believe we have done ourselves and our ancestors proud!”
David Dance, Chair of the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum’s Board of Trustees said, “This service has given our local community a focal point for us to remember and to celebrate the legacy of the men and women who worked within the Cleveland ironstone industry. The museum is proud to have supported this event, and we will continue to do our best to keep the rich industrial heritage of our area alive.”
The Service of Thanksgiving was followed by a traditional Sunday Tea, provided by parishioners and friends, which proved an excellent opportunity for community fellowship and networking.