Community’s support and generosity praised

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The family of Malcolm Campbell have thanked the public for their continued support as the first anniversary of the mining tragedy in which the young Cameron man was killed approaches.

Malcolm died along with 28 others in a series of explosions that began on November 19 last year at the Pike River mine at Greymouth in New Zealand.

His dad, Malcolm senior, told the Citizen this week that the assistance and support his family had received in the past year helped them to cope with the loss of his son and the campaign to recover the victims.

“I would just like to thank everyone who has supported us this past year which has been hard on us all,” he said.

“We really couldn’t ask for any more from the public who have been there for us. The support in Scotland has been great.

“We have been doing a lot of fundraising to get Malcolm home. It has been a long year and everyone has been great, keeping it all going and making sure there is awareness of the situation internationally as well.

“We are really just looking to get through 2011.”

Inevitably, the events of the past year have taken their toll and Malcolm and his wife, Jane, are planning to fly out to Australia soon to spend time with their daughter, Kerry.

Fundraising events for the recovery fund are ongoing and Malcolm snr is optimistic that progress is now being made with attempts to re-enter the mine. It was sealed because of safety fears before any of the victim’s bodies could be recovered.

Malcolm explained: “We keep in contact with a lawyer over in Greymouth and the mine now seems to be very stable.

“They have been given the go ahead to approach the drift leading into the mine, then they can decide the next step. Maybe they can get one or two bodies out before Christmas, but we’ll see.”

An inquiry into the disaster opened in Greymouth in April with a final report expected to be published next March.

Earlier this month, the New Zealand government filed 25 criminal charges in relation to the Pike River disaster.

The former chief executive of Pike River Coal faces 12 criminal charges relating to safety in the mine, including four offences of “failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of his as an employee harmed another person”.

Pike River Coal will face 10 charges, and drilling firm VLI has been charged with three offences - all relating to safety standards.