IT IS a very simple window, made from Northumberland Celtic
glass, but it carries a poignant message: "In loving memory of
workers throughout the world who have died through accident,
injury, or disease in the course of their work. This is a prayer
for a safer workplace."
The window is to be found in the 19th-century St Thomas's, in
Stanley Crook, a small village in the heart of what was once the
Durham coalfield. It was provided a decade ago by
a local woman, Julie Burnip, who used the cash from a settlement
she had received after the death of her husband, Paul, from an
asbestos-related illness contracted through his job.
A union official of UCATT, Dave Ayres, who had helped her to
make her claim, says: "It was an act of true generosity." The
church has now become a focal point in the region for International
Workers' Memorial Day, and the recent annual service was organised
by the Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Jonathan Whalley.
"I wanted it to be a form of remembrance-day service for
workers," Mr Whalley said, "and I am endeavouring to develop it
into more than just a local event. We are always looking for new
ways of reaching out to the community, and this is one that has
significance here. This was once a strong mining community, and
miners are buried in the churchyard."
The service included an address by Linda Whelan, from
Willington, in Co. Durham. She founded the campaigning group
Families Against Corporate Killers, after her son, Craig, was
killed in 2002 while working as a steeplejack.
A banner made for the miners' lodge at nearby Wooley colliery,
which closed in 1949, was also re-dedicated.