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Staff at a Northumberland surface mine have paid a unique, super-sized tribute to the invaluable work of the NHS.

The team at Banks Mining’s Shotton surface mine near Cramlington lined up more than two dozen vehicles from their plant fleet to spell out the name of the NHS as part of the weekly appreciation of the work that doctors, nurses and other healthcare and ancillary staff are doing to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tribute covered an area of more than 4,200 square metres, while the combined weight of all the vehicles used to make the letters, which included off-highway dump trucks, tipper trucks and trailers, topped 2,000 metric tonnes.

The tribute was the idea of Neil Cook, manager at the Shotton site, whose wife Heather works for the NHS.

He says: “I’d seen a few different tributes in industrial locations around the UK and thought it would be good for us to do something as well, so came up with the idea of using our fleet of vehicles to spell out the name of the NHS.

“After doing a scale drawing to make sure we had all the vehicles available that we needed, we talked to the drivers about what we had planned and they got everything in place within just 20 minutes.”

The Shotton site is less than two miles from the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington.

Jeannie Raine, community relations manager at the Banks Group, adds: “Like everyone, we’re in awe of the work being done by every part of the NHS to tackle the coronavirus and organising this tribute was our Shotton team’s rather unusual way of joining in with the national thank you.

“Many of the Banks Mining team, who have been on site right through the coronavirus crisis to provide the supplies of essential minerals needed by UK industry, have friends and family working for the NHS around the region and so know first-hand how hard they’re working to help us all stay well and save lives.”

Family-owned Banks Mining has been working in South East Northumberland for the last four decades, and contributes around £35m to the regional economy every year from the Shotton and nearby Brenkley Lane sites through wages, investments and the local supply chain.

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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