MINES rescue workers attached to Ilkeston Mines Rescue Station from collieries in No. 5 and 6 Area of the East Midlands Division of the N.C.B. heard cheering news on Friday night from Mr. N. Fricker, O.B.E., Divisional Marketing Director. "Things are brighter-much brighter," he told them.
"Industrial demand for coal in the country is on the up and up. Great power stations are going up by the Trent and are going to utilise East Midlands coal, and the first of them will probably take five million tons of coal in one year." Mr. Fricker presented awards to rescue workers, some of whom had done over 15 years in the rescue service, at a dinner at Langley Mill.
Mr.Fricker also referred to coal stocks and commented that nine million tons had been stocked in the East Midlands.
They must wonder why. "Briefly, I may tell you" he said. "We have had an unprecedented falling away in demand, with over- production mainly of small coal. Inland consumption in this country in the last four years has dropped by some thirty million tons. Exports have dropped about four million tons also."
This has been caused by industrial recession and by increased competition from oil, particularly in power stations, which were now burning oil equivalent to eight million tons of coal a year. Railways had also transferred more to diesels, there had been improved utilisation in the burning of coal itself, and on top of all this there had been a wonderful summer.
The Board had, however, maintained a policy of full employment and the pits had worked full-time. Stocks were necessary, but not the extent to which they were having to be carried in the East Midlands Division.
But the necessity for them had been shown during the recent cold spell and already this year three quarters of a million tons had been picked up from stock in the Division.
Mr. Fricker said the East Midlands Division provided 23 per cent of the national exports of coal and things were also improving in this direction.
They were, however, meeting Polish competition in Denmark and in Germany, and doing so successfully and were shipping coal there from the East Midlands Division.
Concluding, Mr, Fricker said that during- the last decade there, had been many changes and there would be a lot more in the next ten years but the Board faced the future confidently.
Whatever other changes there were, however, the loyalty of the rescue men to the Board and to their comrades never changed.
Late Changes Of Venue
The dinner was the first for three years - annual ones having been dropped on the grounds of economy - and was switched from Ilkeston Miners' Welfare to Langley Mill Miners' Welfare at very short notice.
There, in a less spacious hall, it was an overflow gathering and mainly rescue workers dined in an annex and then joined their colleagues in the main hall for the speeches and presentations.
Mr. Wright apologised for the late change of venue, due, he said, to difficulties in regard to making arrangements for catering at Ilkeston Miners' Welfare.
Over sixty awards were presented.
W. Mann (Coppice), J. Martin (Mapperley), J. W. Harrison and S. Hassall (Stanley) received medallions for 15 years and over, having completed their 15 years in l958.
E. Taylor (Mapperley) and E. Cocking (Ilkeston Permanent Corps) also received l5-year medallions, completing this period last year.
Presented with long-service certificates were the following from local collieries:-
William Thorpe and Harold Knight (Coppice), Arthur Salt, Joseph A, Martin, Samuel Thorpe and Ernest Taylor (Mapperley).
Ten-year medallions for period completed in 1957 went to local miners A. Ince (Wood- Side), W. Hart (Coppice), A. Duffield (Cossall), H. Meakin (Permanent Corps) and R. Hill (New Langley); in 1958 to A. Cullen (Cossall); L. C. Rudd (Stanley) and H. Knight (Coppice); in 1959 to D. Watson (Cossall), S. Thorpe and G. Bevan (Mapperley).
Philip Healey (Permanent-Corps) received a five-year medallion for service, for period completed last year.