The dark days of the crippling year-long miners’ strike were revisited in Doncaster today - 30 years on from the end of one of the most bitter chapters in British history
The event saw hundreds of miners, former miners, MPs and the community as a whole mark the 30th anniversary of the miners’ return to work following a 12 month battle over a series of devastating pit closures which wrecked communities, divided families and saw scenes of bloody violence on the streets of Doncaster.
Politicians, star names and scores of miners who battled through the 1984-85 conflict came together once more for a day long commemoration to remember some of the people and events that took place at Hatfield Colliery during the strike.
Speeches, music, a march and tributes to pit workers and officials who battled tirelessly during the campaign which pitted Arthur Scargill’s National Union of Mineworkers against Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government all took place.
Pete Thompson was landlord of the pub during the conflict. He said: “The comradeship and togetherness that existed during the strike is still there. Although the village may have moved away from mining now, the spirit is still strong and still there and people want to remember the things that happened.
“They were very difficult times for a lot of people and people still talk about 1984-85 regularly even now.”
The Long March Back event kicked off at 11am at the pub in Broadway and guests included Doncaster Central MP, Mayor Ros Jones and even singer-songwriter Paul Heaton, former lead singer of The Housemartins and The Beautiful South and a keen socialist.
Hatfield is now Doncaster’s last remaining pit - with Kellingley the only other Yorkshire survivor - although that too is scheduled to close by the end of this year
And Hatfield too faces an uncertain future with the union providing a £4 million bridging loan to keep the pit - now in private hands - open for the forseeable future.