Statue to commemorate mining disaster unveiled by Alex Salmond

A BRONZE statue to commemorate one of the darkest days in Scotland's mining history, unveiled by the First Minister yesterday, has a tracker installed to deter thieves.

The sculpture was erected in memory of 47 miners who died after being trapped by a fire on 18 September, 1959 at Auchengeich Colliery in Moodiesburn, North Lanarkshire.

The original sculpture was torn from its marble mountings two months after Mr Salmond unveiled it last September to mark the tragedy's 50th anniversary.

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Thieves are thought to have melted it down for scrap. The new statue, a replica of the 35,000 sculpture by John McKenna, will be monitored by CCTV.

After unveiling the bronze in the memorial gardens at Auchengeich Miners' Welfare, Mr Salmond said: "I was privileged to unveil this poignant and fitting tribute to the 47 brave men who lost their lives at Auchengeich Colliery.

"I share the outrage and anger of the local community, who lost so many husbands, fathers, brothers and sons half a century ago, and who have suffered yet more heartache as a result of this senseless crime."

Despite an extensive police investigation, the thieves were never tracked down.