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SLIDESHOW: Armthorpe’s memorial to pit strike

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Hundreds of former pit workers came together once more for a moving memorial to mark the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike.

Young and old alike joined Sunday’s march through Armthorpe commemorating three decades since the start of the bitter year-long 1984-85 struggle.

They were led by the Markham Main Colliery Band to lay a wreath which was placed at the site of the former pit head shaft, now a park in the middle of a modern housing estate following the mine’s closure in 1996.

Retired Armthorpe vicar Dr Keith Ellwood led the prayers while Tyla Bell, 16, laid the wreath to commemorate the 87 miners who died at Markham Main during its 80-year history.

Former miner Colin Davis, 56, said: “It is important that we never forget what went on here all those years ago.

“Thousands of men all over the country fought for what they believed in and remained proud and strong right to the end.

“Younger people need to realise the history and importance of the Miners’ Strike and what it meant to a lot of people.”

Miners and their families gathered at the Pit Club, one of the few remnants of the colliery’s proud past, before a colourful banner-waving march to the shaft memorial stones where the band played Abide With Me.

The modern housing estate is a far cry from the site’s industrial past, with miners producing 24,000 tonnes of coal a week during the 1980s.

The band then led a march to the Coronation Club in Armthorpe, where Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton and retired Yorkshire NUM president Ken Capstick led speeches.

The pit, which opened in 1916, survived cuts that sparked the 1984-85 battle between NUM leader Arthur Scargill and Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government.

Production came to an end in 1996 after another round of closures.

 

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