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Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 14:42 UK
Wrexham FC honours miners' memory

Racecourse stadium
Wrexham FC hosts a memorial match on the 75th anniversary of the Gresford Disaster in which 266 miners died

Wrexham FC is to play its home game on 22 September in memory of the 266 miners who lost their lives in the Gresford Disaster to mark the 75th anniversary of the tragedy.

Gresford colliery
A crowd waits at the colliery following the disaster

It's particularly poignant as many of the men working that day had switched shift so they could watch a home game on the following Saturday.

Club Chief Executive Paul Retout said he had been moved by the accounts of the disaster, some of which he had seen in a soon to be published book written by local author Bev Tinson.

"On the night of the 22 September 1934 miners switched shifts so that they could watch the subsequent game against Tranmere Rovers FC," said Paul.

"The club has a close affinity with the local coal mining industry with our training ground being called Colliers Park' that actually sits over the Gresford Colliery.

I have been disappointed to learn that very little had been arranged to commemorate this special anniversary.
Paul Retout - Wrexham FC chief executive

"I am conscious of the fact there are many families in Wrexham and the surrounding area that have been associated with the local mining industry and indeed related to those that died, with a number being lifelong fans of our club, and I have been disappointed to learn that very little had been arranged to commemorate this special anniversary.

"I feel that is the responsibility of the football club to bring to together friends and families on this special day to commemorate the anniversary."

The club has decided that it should commemorate this disaster at the game against Luton Town FC, and have applied to the Football Conference for the game to be delayed by 15 minutes.

It was not unusual for the club to delay the games on Saturday to enable miners to arrive at the game on time, and the change in timing will be as a mark of respect to all men and their families that worked in the mines in the local area.

Wrexham FC memorial logo
Wrexham FC memorial logo

Wrexham and Luton players will be wearing a black arm bands and there will be a memorial design of the Gresford Wheel on the shirts of the Wrexham FC players.

These shirts will then be signed and given to the various Wrexham FC supporters groups to auction off in aid of charity.

Paul said: "We as a club will hold a one minute silence at 11.00am at the training ground on the day, and there will be a further minute silence at the match in the evening.

"I have also requested that a minute silence to be held in the town centre."

In addition, 266 black balloons will be released into the night sky prior to the game with each balloon symbolising a miner.

The Llay Welfare Band will be playing the 'Gresford Hymn' - a song about the disaster - and singer Samantha Williams will be singing the Welsh National Anthem.

Gresford Colliery Disaster Memorial Game - Wrexham FC v Luton Town FC, Tuesday 22 September 2009, 7.45pm


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