Around 30 people from the scattered communities around Loveston came together for a pilgrimage in tribute to those who lost their lives in the colliery disaster.
As part of the St David’s diocese’s Year of Pilgrimage, the Church of St Leonard’s, Loveston, part of the Narberth-Tenby Local Ministry Area, has seen the revival of an annual pilgrimage to the site of the Loveston Disaster.
The Loveston Colliery disaster took place in 1936 when seven men were killed by the flooding of their shaft after accidentally breaking through an old, flooded working.
The pilgrimage was co-lead by its founder, Fr Paul Davies SSC, and one of the Local Ministry Area’s curates Rev’d Seamus Hargrave who had encouraged its revival as part of the Year of Pilgrimage.
A group of about 30 pilgrims gathered in St Leonard’s Church for a blessing on the pilgrimage, before walking to the site of the former colliery, led by a cross which would be left there as a memorial to the deceased. At the Colliery, the events of the Loveston Disaster were recounted.
Lunch followed, accompanied by some very curious cows who watched on with crestfallen expressions as pilgrims resolutely refused to share their picnics!
Gathering around the site, the pilgrims said prayers for the dead, before leaving the cross and the scallop shells that each had carried as a sign remembering, nearly a century on, the value of these men lost from the community.
The pilgrims were joined by Jean Boothe the daughter of Joseph Phillips, a brave man who, on seeing the inrush on water, ran to miners further up shaft to warn them to save themselves, before running back to the waters to try and save his brother Ernest only, tragically, for them to both perish together. These events still shape and affect the lives of people today.
The pilgrimage brought the scattered communities around Loveston together and was valued by all who attended. Congregant of St Leonard’s and Church Treasurer Catherine Miller said: “We were delighted to see so many new and old friends gathered together in prayer and fellowship around the capped mine shaft, in a beautiful sylvian copse; it was very special and memorable afternoon for all of us there.”
The pilgrimage attracted people from outside the Christian faith as well, who nonetheless found it a special and ‘meditative’ experience.
For those interested in being a part of this revival and rejuvenation of faith and community in the Jeffreyston Group there is a Music Night in Cresselly Hall at 7pm on Thursday, June 8. There is a welcome to Sunday Service in Jeffreyston Church at 10am with a free lunch afterwards at 12 noon to which newcomers are welcome for faith or food. In Loveston Church there is a monthly Rosary group beginning on June 14 at 6.30pm. The curious and the new are warmly invited to all of these.