Miners fight to save Hatfield pithead

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A campaign to save a piece of Doncaster’s mining history has been launched – days after a decision to shut the region’s last remaining pit.

Miners and members of the National Union Of Mineworkers are planning to approach Doncaster Council to lobby support to save the structure of the pithead at Hatfield Colliery from being demolished.

The move comes after a decision was made to close the site – one of the last three deep coal mines in the UK – a year ahead of schedule.

The closure marks the end of an era for the coal industry and will result in the loss of 430 jobs.

However, a campaign, led by Dave Douglass, former miner and NUM Branch Secretary at Hatfield Main, has been launched to protect the headgear.

Mr Douglass has organised a meeting on Saturday, at noon, at the Broadway Hotel in Dunscroft to gather support for the campaign.

He said: “We are hoping the council will step in and support us.

“We need to preserve this, this is a piece of our history.

“It’s like they are trying to wipe out every sign the mining industry ever existed but we’ll be digging our toes in on this one – they have to preserve this for future generations.

“They won’t take this away from us.”

Ed Miliband, Doncaster North MP, who visited the colliery on Tuesday said he was determined to fight for the mine until the end, calling a parliamentary debate for today.

He said: “I believe the workers have been abandoned by the Government. I’m not going to abandon them.”

The plan to close was confirmed this week after bosses admitted they could not find a buyer for their coal in the current market.

Business minister Anna Soubry refused any more state aid for the mine on Monday after late-night talks with John Grogan, chairman of Hatfield Colliery Employment Benefit Trust, and Mr Miliband

The employee-owned colliery had been due to operate until August 2016.

Speaking about the decision to close it, Mr Douglass said: “I’m gutted, it’s like a bereavement.

“While ever we had that one pit still open it wasn’t over, the fat lady hadn’t sung, there was that hope that someone with some sense would come in and revitalise the industry, but the government has put the final boot in. It makes absolutely no sense – it’s obviously a political decision.

“ The community has faced everything the state and employers could throw at us in 31 years of struggle to save our pit and our way of life and heritage.

“Now they have finished us off, every last pit and every last miner, now that is a particular kind of hatred and spite.”