THIS week marks the 40th anniversary of the Golborne mining disaster of 1979 when we lost 10 brave miners.

The disaster still reverberates across our community and I know it understandably still affects the family and friends of all of those lost.

Last week I was glad to raise the anniversary with the Prime Minister at PMQ’s and receive her support for the commemoration event which I took to the service on Sunday.

The Prime Minister rightly acknowledged the obvious and inescapable danger which miners worked in, but it is not enough to simply say words of remembrance and condolence.

In their memory I believe we have a duty to honour their lives by constantly striving to raise our work safety standards and support the communities which those miners left behind on that fateful day.

Our ex-mining towns are proud communities but since the decline in industry we have had a sore deal.

Outer towns have not received the recognition, the dedication and the funding that we deserve.

Decades of underinvestment led to the awful situation we face today with limited job opportunities – often low-skilled and low-paid – limited educational opportunities with only one sixth form college and limited transport opportunities without a rail station.

Raising my children in the constituency, I understand and appreciate the worry we all have for the future of our towns and how we transform them back into the prosperous, thriving centres they were.

I have many ideas of how we can work together to achieve this, especially at this crucial time for our country.

It starts with education and I am glad that we have started conversations with a number of Higher Education providers about the possibility of HE provision within the constituency.

It means reconnecting Leigh to the rail network and I am glad that TfGM’s proposals contained three proposed railway stations for our towns.

I will also be discussing this with the Rail Minister over the next few weeks.

It also means transforming our employment market.

This will take time, it is a long-term project, but with the right inward investment, the right connectivity and the right skills I am positive we can connect our towns to the new economies.

As Labour’s Shadow Cybersecurity Minister, I am also keen to see how we can plug new and emerging industries, such as cyber, into areas that have seen an industrial decline such as ours.

This makes good business sense and can act as a catalyst to fundamentally transform and revitalise areas of the country.

Thinking back to the community that those miners in 1979 lived in, I am more determined than ever that we come together and reunite to rebuild our towns to the vibrant, prosperous past that they once were.