16th July 2012
A group of students at Coleg Gwent’s Crosskeys Campus have honoured the Black Vein Colliery mining disaster by premiering a film recapturing the events, as part of the college’s Summer Extravaganza Drama Week.
The Independent Living Skills students (ILS) have pledged to raise money to fund a memorial plaque and bench at the site of the Risca mine explosion. In addition to the tribute film, the students will host a series of events including raffles and cake sales, over the course of the year to encourage donations.
Chris Evans, MP for Islwyn, paid a visit to the campus to watch the film entitled Black Vein Memorial and presented a cheque for £75 to help the good cause. The students who are aged between 16-25 years old, learnt about the pit disaster which claimed the lives of 142 men and boys in 1860 and were inspired to continue the legacy of miners within the local community.
The film was the combined efforts of 30 students, who took responsibility for acting, filming, lighting, music and editing. The premiere invited friends, family, students and lecturers to learn more about their local history and understand the conditions in the coal mines at the time.
In 2010, a tombstone was uncovered by probation workers who were contracted to clear the undergrowth near the Black Vein Colliery in Risca. Two years the later the site has become overgrown which has prompted the Coleg Gwent students to raise awareness for the memorial through their film.
Abby Wiegold, 17, an ILS student from Caerphilly, said: “Working on the film was a great experience. I didn’t know much about the Black Vein disaster, so researching for the film really opened my eyes to how life was down the mines for people who were a similar age to me. I narrated part of the film which was great for my confidence. It was also valuable to work as part of a team with lots of other students and see the finished product.”
The Independent Living Skills courses support students with various educational backgrounds, in leading more independent lives. All courses are one year and students can progress either within the ILS provision or onto other vocational areas throughout the College.
Victoria English, ILS tutor at Coleg Gwent said: “The Black Vein disaster was a hugely tragic chapter in our local history but unfortunately not an event many people know a lot about . When the students learnt of the disaster and all the young men and boys who lost their lives when the pit exploded, they were inspired to give the miners the recognition they deserved and create an area in which people can pay their respects.
“The learners worked very hard to produce a film of such a high standard which really highlighted the magnitude of the disaster and how it impacted the whole town. We are delighted that Chris Evans MP has offered his support by donating money to memorial campaign. He has always been very involved in the work of the college, having watched previous productions. We would like to thank him for his kind contribution.”
For more information about courses at Coleg Gwent, contact 01495 333333, or email email@example.com.