PIT DISASTER RECALLED
DEATH OF MAN WHO WAS DECORATED BY KING

The Wellington Pit disaster of 1910, in which 136 men and boys
lost their lives, is recalled by the death on Tuesday of Mr Thomas
BIRKETT, who took part in the rescue work and was awarded the
King Edward Medal. Mr BIRKETT, whose home was at 40, Front
Row, Newhouses, Whitehaven, died in the Whitehaven Hospital
A native of Whitehaven, he was 66 years of age, and in his younger
days was well-known all over the North as a clever sand dancer.
Locally his performances as a dancer were keenly anticipated by
patrons of the old Royal Standard and Shakespeare Music Halls.
He was employed at Wellington Pit when the disaster occurred
in May 1910, and was one of the first to offer his services for
rescue work, and along with his companions was decorated by
His Majesty the King with the King Edward Medal. He had also
taken part in rescue work following subsequent disasters.
Five years ago he was appointed a dust inspector at Wellington
Pit and held this position until the pit closed in August last.
He worked in Haig Pit until the end of 1932, when he retired.
Twenty-eight years ago he took up evangelist work and was ell
known as a preacher and composer of hymns in West Cumberland
At the time of his death he was connected with Sandhills Lane
Mission. He is survived by his widow a, four children.