FIFTY years ago this week, Crossgates man Trevor Brady was called to join a rescue mission at his mother pit just hours after finishing his shift.

On Wednesday evening, the 72 year-old attended a memorial service on Kirkcaldy beach to remember the five people who tragically died in the Seafield Colliery Disaster on May 10, 1973.

At the time, Trevor was just 22 and he had just joined the Mines Rescue Service, then based in Cowdenbeath, as a part-time rescuer.

"On the night of the disaster, I was working on the day shift," he recalled. "The disaster happened on the back shift. At that time we didn't have mobile phones so they had a bell system which was activated in your house if rescue personnel was required.

"What we had to do was phone the rescue station and they would tell you where the disaster was. When the bells went off, I phoned the rescue station. I was staying in Kirkcaldy at that time and made my way down to the colliery.

"There was quite a bit of activity going on. I reported to the management and had to go underground to assist.

Dunfermline Press: The Mines Rescue and Training Service's training area. The Mines Rescue and Training Service's training area. (Image: David Wardle)

"This was less than six hours after I had finished my shift. Myself personally, I had spoken to a couple of the lads who had lost their lives. I had seen them when we were changing over in the locker rooms. It was not a stand up conversation but a hello and talking about the football and in less than six hours, I was underground."

Guided by more experienced members of the team, Trevor made his way underground to assist with the rescue operation.

"Seafield Colliery went down 1,800 feet, you were two and a half miles out underneath the Forth. It was pitch dark. It must have been horrendous for the lads that lost their lives there," he said.

"It was in the early hours of the morning before we managed to get a couple of the lads out that had been injured. Unfortunately there were a couple of lives that had lost their lives at that time.

"It was an ongoing programme. It was June the 5th or 6th before the last person was recovered. It was not just a 24 hour task, it was a number of days and weeks.

"The main thing at the time in the back of the minds was we are definitely going to get everyone home. The families can have closure then."

Following the tragedy, Trevor continued mining at Seafield until 1982 when he joined the Mines Rescue Service on a full time basis.

He relocated to Crossgates due to a stipulation that he had to live within half a kilometre of the rescue station and, continues to work for the service to this day.

With the closure of Scotland's pits, the Mines Rescue and Training Service, which now has its headquarters in Crossgates, has extended its scope.

"It is more on the health and safety side now," explained Trevor. "We have a lot of customers that come in and we teach them about confined spaces, first aid, manual handling, working at height.

"With the closure of the last mine here in Scotland, which was the Longannet complex in 2002, we had to do other qualifications so we could go on and steadily we have got quite a good work force and quite a good reputation."

Trevor said it was important to remember the lives lost at the service taking place on Wednesday.

"It lets you look back and think how you felt as a young lad," he said. "I would say to a certain degree it probably directed me on my career path. I decided more or less that night that I would like to give a little bit back."