Disaster Relief Funds

February 1938

Leeds Mercury – Saturday 26 February 1938

Disaster Relief Funds

The mining communities of South Yorkshire are making a determined bid to break down the legal barriers which debar access to large sums of money tied up in colliery disaster relief  funds. This was revealed at Darfield Urban Council meeting to-night when Hemsworth Urban Council wrote asking for support of an appeal for legislation to that end.

County Alderman T. H. Foulstone, a trustee of the Oaks Colliery Explosion Fund, established in 1866, said the trustees were not against amalgamation. He added: “ It is far more difficult and complicated than it appears to those who are not acquainted with the details. These funds are tied up by legal rules which you cannot break without Parliamentary consent.”

To this, Mr. T. W. Illsley replied: That is what we appreciate, and we are trying to remove those disabilities.”

It was mentioned there lived in Darfield a woman whose father was killed in the Oaks explosion, and that she and her husband were having to subsist on old-age pensions and public assistance because the fund was not available to them.

Mr. A. Collindridge said he thought the idea advocated by Hemsworth would result in more equitable treatment for dependants.

Mr. M. Upperdine said serious anomalies existed and these had been a bone of contention throughout the industrial world for some time. Large sums remained untouched because there was no legislation to provide for their disbursement.

Hemsworth Urban Council had urged that these old relief funds be liquidated and the money pooled and made available for dependants of the victims of future disasters; also, that money subscribed to future appeals should be devoted to a national fund.

Mr. Illsley said that when major disasters occurred, sentiment bubbled up for a time. The need of the widow and children of the individual victim was just as great as though the man had been killed in a largescale disaster.

The Council decided unanimously to support the resolution, which is to be sent to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Mines, and the local M.P.