A FORMER miner who has been instrumental in raising awareness of Golborne's mining heritage was recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Eric Foster, who worked at Golborne Colliery from the early 1960s until the pit's closure in 1989, received an OBE for services to the community where he was employed.

He also worked at the pit at the time of the Golborne Colliery disaster when an underground explosion took place on March 18, 1979 and led to the deaths of 10 miners.

Eric, who is secretary of the Golborne Ex Miners group, has been heavily involved in the organisation of commemorative marches that have been held in the town to remember the victims.

He helps with fundraising events in aid of the marches too.

Leigh Journal:

Eric with ex-miners in Golborne

Eric, 73, worked as an underground locomotive fitter and was the pit's National Union of Mineworkers president at the time of its closure.

He said: "It's important that we always remember the 10 lads who died in the Golborne mining disaster.

"It was a day I will never forget.

"I just feel so much for the men's families and what they have gone through.

"Their families are still with us and I feel that they are my family.

"I am honouring the wishes of the late Golborne Ex Miners president Allan Mitchell who said it was important to stay together."

Leigh Journal:

Eric with ex-miners at a memorial stone near the site of the former Golborne Colliery

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Former Wigan and Leigh magistrate Eric, who served as a Bryn councillor from 1983 to 1999, also regularly visits schools to educate youngsters on Golborne's mining heritage.

Dad-of-one Eric, who was chairman of the board of governors at Cansfield High School in Ashton-in-Makerfield for 29 years, added: "I am overwhelmed by the response from people.

"It's still not sunk in yet.

"I have had phone calls and cards from people congratulating me.

"I have enjoyed helping people in my life – that was the way I was brought up."