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Artist and former miner Bob Olley has donated one of his original oil paintings to the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Development Trust to raise funds for South Shields Museum & Art Gallery via a raffle.

The painting The Hewer (001) has never been on display before and was inspired by Bob Olley’s mining career at Whitburn Colliery, which closed 50 years ago this year. Bob Olley was one of the men who worked the last shift.

Geoff Woodward, Manager of South Shields Museum & Art Gallery said:

“This is a wonderful opportunity for one lucky person to win an original artwork that captures an industry so important in the heritage of the South Tyneside area.  This picture is also deeply resonant because Bob Olley is not only an accomplished artist, he was actually there in person working at the coalface.

 “We are extremely grateful to Bob for his generous donation to support South Shields Museum & Art Gallery.”

Artist Bob Olley said:

“Every Saturday morning as a child I attended the ABC minor’s club matinee at the Savoy cinema in Ocean Road, followed by a visit to the Museum where I spent many happy hours, mesmerised by the collection of artefacts from around the world and the pride of stuffed lions staring from their glass case. 

“In 1972 the gallery was the venue for my first exhibition.  Happy memories of my visits to a great South Tyneside asset. “

Raffle tickets cost £2.50 each and can be bought online www.southshieldsmuseum.org.uk or in person at the museum shop from Wednesday 18 July 2018. The full terms and conditions of the prize draw can be seen on the museum website.

Over 20 other paintings by Bob Olley currently feature on loan in the museum’s King Coal: the life & legacy of South Tyneside’s coal mining communities exhibition, alongside a wealth of other objects.

Visitor figures have risen substantially since the exhibition opened on 5 May 2018 compared with the same period in 2017, with 20,698 people having visited in this period compared to 16,504 in 2017, making an increase of over 25%.

The winner of the painting will be drawn by Bob Olley accompanied by museum staff at South Shields Museum & Art Gallery on Monday 10 September 2018.

King Coal: the life & legacy of South Tyneside’s coal mining communities runs until Saturday 29 September.

The exhibition explores the coal industry’s impact on the lives of the people in coal communities, from pit accidents and family life to the physical legacy of the coal industry in the South Tyneside area today.

A wealth of personal effects and memorabilia from different periods in the region’s mining history depict life from that time, as well as examples of work equipment, heart wrenching details of fatal tragedies and the rich language, humour and communities that evolved around the industry.

South Shields Museum & Art Gallery is open six days a week, Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 11am – 4pm and has free entry although donations are welcome.

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