Lake memorial for Pike River disaster pair

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TWO Scotsmen who died in a mining accident in New Zealand are to be remembered by a new memorial.

Malcolm Campbell and Peter Rodger were among 29 miners killed in the Pike River mine in 2010.

Now a new memorial dedicated to the men, and others who have died in mining disasters, is to be unveiled on the second anniversary of the blast.

Malcolm Campbell was killed alongside Peter Rodger in the Pike River Mine disaster

The memorial, set to be revealed on November 19, features granite statues of three miners and will sit in the middle of Lake Karoro in western New Zealand.

It will be surrounded by a revolving mine portal and linked to the shore by a causeway.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the memorial was dedicated to all miners who had died in accidents, including the 29 who died in 2010.

Originally the site was to be dedicated only to the Pike River men, but a memorial committee decided last week to extend the tribute to all who died in mining.

The scenic lake has a backdrop of the Paparoa Ranges, where the bodies of the ‘Pike 29’ are still entombed.

Spokesman for the families of the miners who died, Bernie Monk, said they would not have closure until their bodies were recovered.

It’s expected that body recovery operations could take up to five years.

Mr Monk, whose son Michael died aged 23 in the Mine, said: “Nothing has changed. That’s the way the families feel. They are never going to go away until this happens.

“When we had his birthday on December 4, we used that as a birthday for him but also as closure for a lot of his friends who had travelled from all over the world to come to support us.

“People flew in from the UK, from Australia, from everywhere.

“You name it, they came back here for us and we needed to give them some closure.”

Malcolm Campbell’s parents, Malcolm and Jane, from St Andrews in Fife, are campaigning for the mine to be re-opened.

The miners’ bodies were left 2.2km underground due to dangerously high gas levels.

The family hope to raise £1 million to fund the recovery of the bodies, as the New Zealand government is unlikely to pay the cost.

No contact was ever made with Malcolm, 25 or Peter Rodger, 40, after a series of explosions tore through the mine last year.

Malcolm’s father, also Malcolm, said: “I don’t think they will ever get everyone out.

That is always at the back of our minds.

“But we want Malcolm brought home and laid to rest next to his gran and granddad. My wife lost her parents and Malcolm within 14 months so it has been a horrendous time for us.”

 

 

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