This selection of poems, stories and drawings by youngsters in the Trimdons is the product of visits to local schools by writer Keith Armstrong and musicians Ian Carr and Peter Challoner during 1988.
Our thanks to all the teachers at those schools who were so helpful during the visits.
When I played over the pit heaps for the first time, my Granda told me that his friend lived that close to the explosion that he felt his house shake.
My Granda had a brother and his friend’s dad was in the explosion and he got his leg trapped under a big rock and he was unable to struggle free. Unfortunately he died.
So now when I play over the pit heaps I always remember the 74 men and boys who died in the Trimdon Grange Explosion.
LIVING IN TRIMDON
I like playing with Tammy. We like playing on our roller-boots. We like picking flowers for our Mam and we like the blossom on the trees.
There is a man who lives up the road from us. His name is Billy Harper, but he gets called Old Billy because he is eighty-four. There is a song called “We’ll keep a Welcome.” It is supposed to be written by Mal Jones but it has turned out that Billy has written it.
He said he could remember it as clear as day. The paper said: “It has always been a fact We’ll Keep a Welcome in the Hillsides was composed by the late Mal Jones for the smash hit radio programme ‘Welsh Rarebit’ and nobody has every doubted it until now. Billy Harper a perky 84-year-old has spoken of it to his mates down the pub of his home village Trimdon in County Durham but they didn’t take much notice.
All except one man. He helped Billy and we are still trying to find out if Bill wrote the song. Billy had two twins; one played the Banjo and the other the saxaphone. but they both died of Dyptherea. Billy is still waiting for a reply from the publisher. If he did write the song he will get £600.
At Trimdon you are surrounded with lots of flowers and fields, but you are not allowed to approach them. The big black wheel at Trimdon Grange in memory of the pit, puts a sad look on my face and goes back in my mind. The men that worked at the pit hadn’t much money, but they had to feed their children and their wife.
THE MINE DISASTER
Yesterday it happened, So quickly, so sickly.
Trying to get out, They were yelling “HELP US” But by the time they helped them It was just too late.
My brother, cousin and my next door neighbour lying here beside, safe and sound beside me in the hospital.
Some I know died in pain With a broken body.
Some I know died helping, Helping others get free.
I moved to Trimdon
I like it at Trimdon there’s some swings and a climbing frame.