United by Wemyss across the globe

Ex-miners from the Wemyss villages who were at a village hall night organised by Friends of the Wemyss reunion team.
Ex-miners from the Wemyss villages who were at a village hall night organised by Friends of the Wemyss reunion team.

WEMYSS villagers from around the globe and both sides of the border have celebrated 10 years of online friendship – in person.

Past and present residents from the three villages have marked 10 years since the creation of the Friends from the Wemyss website.

A capacity 70-strong crowd attended a reunion dinner at Coaltown of Wemyss village hall, with with local singing star Janey Kirk providing the entertainment, accompanied by entertainer Robbie Corran.

This was the fourth reunion the site has staged since its formation, while it has encouraged expatriates to stage overseas reunions too.

Spokesman Sandy Powell said the website was started in 2002 to keep ex-pats and locals in contact with each other, following the demise of the coal mining industry and the exodus of many workers from the area.

It was thought the website might fade after a couple of years but it has gone from strength to strength, with some 10,000 photos in the albums and forums of interesting topics.

The last three weeks featured a day trip to Inchcolm Island, a visit to an East Fife match, walking the Forth Road Bridge and rambling part of the Coastal Path, concluding with a beach barbecue on Friday at East Wemyss to say goodbye to the visitors who had travelled.

Quipped Sandy: “These ex-pats will do anything to remember their youth, no matter the weather.”

On the reunion night, patrons attended from as far as Australia, South Africa and Cyprus, with many crossing the border back from England.

Pictured is a group of ex-miners who attended, including Ziggy Spilarewicz, now living in Australia, and Mike Spilarewicz, now in South Africa.

Up from England were Arthur Bell (Liverpool), Bill Higgins (Worksop) and Dave Bruce (Preston).

The Levenmouth ex-pitmen included John Mears, Bob Johnstone, Sandy Shields, Bill Givens, Dave Robertson, Robert Cunningham and Tom Cunningham, and others.

Anyone wanting more information regarding the reunion, activities or looking for Wemyssers and mining connections are welcome to browse www.friendsfromthewemyss.co.uk and sign the guestbook.