Wigan Heritage and Mining Monument – WHAMM - is a registered charity which was formed and is run by a group of local volunteers who are dedicated to raising funds to provide a statue in a prominent location in Wigan town centre. In 2013 Wigan Local History and Heritage Group was established by two local women, Anne Catterall and Sheila Ramsdale, to bring together people from Wigan with an interest in researching the town’s industrial and social past. The group has gone from strength to strength. We have a programme of guest speakers, visits to historical places, and evenings where we discuss and research local history topics. New members are always welcome. One aim shared by Anne and Sheila was to realise a long-held vision of commemorating the many thousands of people who were directly or indirectly affected by the mining industry. Over three centuries, more than 750 million tons of coal were mined from the vast Wigan coalfields, which over time had over 1000 pits, large and small. It would be difficult to overestimate the contribution of the town to the industrial revolution and the wealth it brought to Britain. However, this was achieved at great cost to local people. Hundreds of people died in accidents, and countless thousands were maimed or left with diseases caused by the working conditions. Two huge mining disasters are still remembered and commemorated more than a century after they occurred. In 1908, 75 men lost their lives in the Maypole pit near Abram. Only two years later, one of the worst mining disasters in Britain took the lives of 345 men at the Pretoria pit near Westhoughton. We passionately believe that the contribution made by men, women and children to this crucial industry should be recognised and remembered. Now that there is no trace of the huge Wigan coalfield it is even more important that every generation should learn how the people of Wigan, by the sweat of their brow, helped to power the industrial revolution which made Britain one of the richest countries in the world.