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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Inquest date set for Honister Slate Mine boss Mark Weir’s death

An inquest into the death of Honister Slate Mine boss Mark Weir will be held on March 25.

Mark Weir photo
Mark Weir

RELATED: Tributes to West Cumbrian businessman killed in helicopter crash

Mr Weir, 45, died when his helicopter crashed into the fellside shortly after taking off from the mine in bad weather at 7pm on March 8 2011.

His partner Jan Wilkinson raised the alarm when he failed to arrive at their home in Mosser.

Mountain rescuers found the wreckage of his Gazelle at 12.30am the next day.

An air accident report last year said the cause of the crash could not be determined.

It said Mr Weir did not hold a night-flying qualification and had taken off in challenging circumstances, with reduced visibility and low cloud.

But it added it was “not possible to determine the mechanism by which control was lost or disorientation occurred”.

The son of a Borrowdale farmer, Mr Weir became an entrepreneur at the age of 13, digging graves locally.

He saved every penny to learn how to fly.

After leaving school in Keswick he became a contractor, building retirement homes in Keswick and Cockermouth.

Over the years he ran the Herdwick Inn near Penrith, Cockermouth’s Slatefell Stores, Windmill Fisheries and Park Fisheries in Workington.

He also ran a helicopter company in Leeds, covering the TT motorcycle races in the Isle of Man from the air and transporting celebrities, including Ian Botham and David Jason.

The father-of-three bought the abandoned slate mine in the 1990s, got it working again and turned it into a thriving tourist attraction.

Miss Wilkinson now runs the mine with Mr Weir mother Celia Taylor-Weir and his brother Joe.

The inquest will take place at Cleator Moor Civic Hall at 10am.

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