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Posted on 7 April 2014 at 17:12 GMT

Commemorating the miners'  strike  in Edlington, Doncaster on Saturday 5 April 2014 on the the 30th anniversary.

Commemorating the miners' strike in Edlington, Doncaster on Saturday 5 April 2014 on the the 30th anniversary.   (Click to enlarge)

March commemorating miners' strike

Around 500 marched through Edlington in Doncaster on Saturday 5 April to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the miners' strike. Veterans of the strike mixed with the younger generation, with particular mention for the women of the strike whose contribution was continued by the young women carrying many of the banners.

Marching through Edlington in Doncaster on Saturday 5 April

Marching through Edlington in Doncaster on Saturday 5 April   (Click to enlarge)

Crowds lined the main street with the biggest cheer for Robbie Conroy's "Ding Dong, the witch is dead" banner. Robbie said: "I fly this banner down at my allotment so I just put another stick on it for today. I moved down from Scotland in 1963 to get work, but just over 20 years later Thatcher closed our pit, Yorkshire Main, costing 1863 jobs".

Speakers at the rally included Chris Skidmore, president of Yorkshire NUM, who spoke about how "ordinary working class men and women became extra-ordinary people" during the strike. He called for the renationalisation of the mining industry to save Kellingley and Thoresby pits, two of the last three now threatened with closure, and for reinvestment in the coalmining industry.

Edlington in Doncaster on Saturday 5 April

  (Click to enlarge)

A striker from Doncaster Care UK gave an impassioned speech about their fight against privatisation of the NHS and pay cuts.

Dave Douglas, former Doncaster miner and NUM executive member, introduced as a "class warrior", proudly described the Doncaster coalfield as having been the strongest during the strike with only 1% returning to work from the 12 pits before the end. Dave refuted accusations that the strike was futile by describing three times when victory was near: during the two dockers' strikes and with the NACODs strike ballot. He said that despite the defeat, miners were unbowed and even in 1986 voted in a national ballot for strike action. He said it was then that the Tories decided that all the pits had to shut.

Marching through Edlington in Doncaster on Saturday 5 April

Marching through Edlington in Doncaster on Saturday 5 April   (Click to enlarge)

Special mention must go to Frank Arrowsmith and his comrades who spent six months organising this event which continued all day and into the night with nine bands and Attila the Stockbroker to round things off.

Alistair Tice

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 7 April 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 7 April 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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