Bosley villagers have marked the first anniversary of the mill explosion which shook their community and claimed the lives of four workers.

The community was devastated when explosions ripped through the Wood Treatment Ltd mill shortly after 9am on Friday, July 17 last year.

The explosions and fire reduced the mill – originally built around 1760 – to rubble and killed mill workers Derek Moore, 62, Dorothy Bailey, 62, William Barks, 51, and Jason Shingler, 38. Several people were injured, 50 mill workers lost their jobs and the fire service said it was the worst incident it has dealt with.

Mr Shingler’s body has never been found.

Mrs Bailey was a well-known member of the community and lived with one of her sons, Edward, also a mill worker, in a cottage next to the mill.

Residents held commemorations including a family fun day, flower festival and church services at the weekend to mark the first anniversary.

Rev Tony Tagg, from Bosley Methodist Church, said: “The Sunday morning service in a marquee at the school was a joyful occasion and the evening service at the Methodist Chapel was a service of reflection for people to think about where they are now and how to move forward.

“People seemed uplifted but it’s still so difficult for the families who lost loved ones and it hit me how hard it is for Jason’s family because he has never been found.”

Bosley Flower Festival

The commemorations included a flower festival at the methodist church with displays by local groups.

Isobel Worthington, who helped organise the festival, said: “I was at home when I heard the bang, it shook the house.

“We chose the theme A Country Parish Remembers for the festival as a way for people to express their feelings a year on.”

After the explosion, parish councillor Sylvia Jenkinson, 64, set up a fund for affected families which raised £240,000.

She said: “I was outside my house when I heard the explosion, it was like a bomb. I knew Dorothy for 35 years, our children grew up together. I saw her in the pub a few days before and she seemed fine.

“I’ll never forget seeing her that day. She was a character, a bit of fun.

“It’s amazing how people came together after the explosion and now a year on to hold commemorations as a community. Dorothy would be really proud.”

Bosley Flower Festival

Headstone in memory of victims

A headstone has been placed next to Bosley mill in memory of the workers who died there.

The monument is next to the side of the road near the entrance to the Wood Treatment Ltd site on Tunstall Road.

The site itself is surrounded by a tall fence to close off the devastated remains of the former mill.

An engraving on the stone reads: “In memory of Dorothy Bailey, Derek Moore, William Barks and Jason Shingler. Always in our thoughts.”

The stone was installed after discussions between the families and Wood Treatment Ltd.

Huw Edwards, partner at Langleys Solicitors LLP working on behalf of Wood Treatment Ltd, said: “To mark the first anniversary of the tragic incident that claimed the lives of four of our colleagues, Wood Treatment Ltd has donated a piece of land for a headstone memorial to remember those who died.

“The events of July 17, 2015 have changed the company and the community forever. We will never forget Derek, Dorothy, William and Jason, and our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with all of their families and everyone else impacted by this incident.”

Headstone in memory of those who died at Bosley mill

Investigation is ongoing

The investigation into the explosion at Bosley mill will continue for many months, according to police.

Cheshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are both investigating the cause of the devastating explosions at Bosley.

Officers spent five months at the site before handing it back to Wood Treatment Ltd last December. But they say the investigation will continue for many months and have refused to put an exact time frame on the conclusion.

A statement by Cheshire Police said that it is still not clear ‘whether any offences took place’, adding: “It’s been challenging to establish the conditions which existed at the time due to the subsequent devastation but a great deal of detailed work and expert analysis is being undertaken.”

Chief inspector Rob Dickinson, who has worked with the community since the explosion, said: “It was a scene of absolute devastation and a year on is still at the forefront of people’s minds. It’s an ongoing and complex investigation which we can’t say more about at the moment but we thank the community for their patience and understanding. It will take a long time to get the right answers.”

Charity football match

A celebrity football match will take place in aid of the Bosley disaster appeal.

Players from Bosley will take on celebrities including Danny Miller who is Aaron Dingle in Emmerdale, Jake Quickenden from X Factor and comedian Ralf Little at Macclesfield Town at 2pm on Sunday, July 24, in aid of the North West and Midlands air ambulances and Cheshire Search and Rescue.

Tickets are available from the club or