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Stories by Hydro

Hydro employees volunteer to support maintenance and repair of Wrexham Mines Rescue Station

A coal mining disaster left his great -grandad grandfather buried underground - now Richard and his Hydro colleagues are helping restore the “Wrexham Mines Rescue Station,” honouring his great- grandfatherad and the 266 men that who lost their lives.

As a response to weaker market demand and some lower activities at the plant, Hydro Aluminium in Wrexham decided to offer workhours in support for a local community project. What they found was a historical building in dire need of repair and with a strong family connection for one of their workers, Richard Tarran.

“This project is special for me and my family because my great grandfather was one of the 266 men who lost their lives in the 1934 Gresford Disaster. I was moved when I found out that his name is on the wall in the Mines Rescue Station, which was recently installed as a memorial for all the families who lost someone that day,” says Richard Tarran, Shift Supervisor at Hydro Aluminium.

a yard with a fence and a brick building with a green roof
Before the work started

The local recycling business, Hydro Aluminium, has enabled Richard and a task force of volunteer employees to work on the maintenance of the Rescue Station. Their first project is to clear and renovate the garden at the rear of the building.  The Hydro task force have also been supported for this project by local businesses BD Performance and Travis Perkins Wrexham.

The 1934 Gresford Mining Disaster was one of Britain’s worst coal mining disasters. After the explosion, the Mines Rescue Station trained 30 local men to re-open the pit. The building was also used as a place where families could gather to mourn their loved ones. Since then, the building has undergone several changes and challenges. It is now in need of major repairs.

Supporting the community which we are a part of

“With us having some lower production and reduced activity right now due to short-term market trends, we asked ourselves how we could make something positive out of this situation. Our employees are skilled, good people that can make a positive difference not only inside our plant but also in the community. That is why we reached out to this important local initiative to offer our support,” says Wayne Clifton, Managing Director at Hydro Aluminium, who is also from Wrexham.

For Hydro, it is important to contribute to the community in which the company operates and turning the challenging market situation into something positive.

“The reduced activity will not lead to layoffs, just as we didn’t lay anyone off during the coronavirus pandemic.  In addition to offering our services to an important community project, we will use the temporary pause in production to bring forward planned investments which will develop the plant for future growth,” continues Clifton.

Important for community with a strong family link

“I am glad we can make a difference in the community by helping out with a project that really connects with a lot of local people. Working together on this project helps to maintain and even improve team spirit and morale,” says Tarran.

a brick building with a sign on the front
The Mines Rescue Station, originally built in 1913 for the purpose of training coal mining rescue teams.

A strong historical connection to Wrexham that needs to be maintained

"We always thought the station was important to the people of Wrexham, but since the opening of the memorial wall in September hundreds of people have been coming in with stories about their own families. We realize now just how important the building is to the local community,” says George Powell.

Powell, who purchased the station from its previous owner around 8 years ago, talks about the importance of caring for the building and what it means to Wrexham.

“Hydro’s involvement and the engagement of their task force has been amazing. Their support will bring the whole building back into use so much sooner than expected,” Powell continues.

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