THE memorial to 45 miners killed in a colliery explosion 50 years ago will be without arms for at least another month.

More than 5,000 people went to Six Bells last week to pay tribute to then men killed in an explosion at the village's colliery, then known as Arrael Griffin, at 10.45am on June 28, 1960.

Six decades after the disaster, a memorial statue, named 'Guardian' was erected bearing the name, age and hometown on a steel band surrounding the plinth of all of those killed in the 'W' district of the Old Coal Seam.

But the statue was missing two notable appendages when he was unveiled - his arms.

Mair Sheen, of Six Bells Communities First, said the 20-metre high statue went up without these limbs "due to it being such a technical job putting the statue into place.

“We did not want to rush the job and so took the decision to put the arms on at a later date.”

The steel structure is the same height as the Angel of the North and depicts a lone miner standing on a plinth.

The miner itself is 12.6 metres high and includes a two metres high head, a torso which measures 3.5 metres in width and the feet which are two metres in width.

A total of 200 sheets of corten steel were used - equal to around 10 tonnes.

The arms of the Guardian, which weigh around one tonne each, will be fitted in the next four to six weeks.

The £200,000 memorial, funded through the Heads of the Valleys programme and other donations, needs strengthening work done on the internal figure to support the arms.