WORK is set to begin on a 20-metre high statute which will commemorate 45 miners killed in a pit explosion 50 years ago.

The final designs for the Six Bells miners' memorial have been finished and artist Sebastien Boyesen will start on the sculpture next week before work begins on-site in the second week of March.

It will be finished in time for the 50th anniversary service on June 28.

The £154,000 statue was funded through the Heads of the Valleys programme, the Holistic Area Regeneration Programme and donations and will be made from corten steel on a sandstone plinth.

A metal band around the plinth will feature the names of the men who died in the gas and coal dust explosion, alongside the inscription 'to all people affected by the mining industry.’ There is space left for further engravings and people will be consulted on what else will feature on it.

Six Bells Communities First Co-ordinator Mair Sheen said: "People have been very supportive of this project and we particularly appreciate the time people have spent to share their personal histories with us."

A coffee morning is on February 23 from 11am - 1pm at St. John’s Church, Griffin Street, Six Bells. People are welcome to come to share ideas for the memorial.