Margaret Thatcher death ‘a great day for miners’

Police confront picketing miners outside a colliery in South Yorkshire in 1984. Picture: Getty
Police confront picketing miners outside a colliery in South Yorkshire in 1984. Picture: Getty
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The death of Baroness Thatcher was a “great day” for miners, David Hopper, general secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association said.

The former miner, who turned 70 yesterday , spent all of his working life at Wearmouth Colliery.

He said: “It looks like one of the best birthdays I have ever had. There’s no sympathy from me for what she did to our community. She destroyed our community, our villages and our people.

“For the union this could not come soon enough, and I’m pleased that I have outlived her. It’s a great day for all the miners. I imagine we will have a counter demonstration when they have her funeral.

“Our children have got no jobs and the community is full of problems. There’s no work and no money and it’s very sad the legacy she has left behind.

“She absolutely hated working people and I have got very bitter memories of what she did. She turned all the nation against us and the violence that was meted out on us was terrible.

“I would say to those people who want to mourn her that they’re lucky she did not treat them like she treated us.”

Darren Vaines, 47, who worked at Ackton Hall Colliery in West Yorkshire, and was on strike for the entire 12 months of the dispute, said: “It’s a very strange emotional feeling because her death brings back a lot of memories and opens up a wound that has never really healed.

“The cut went so deep people have never been able to forget about it. It’s something they can never get out of their system.”

Mr Vaines, whose friend and colleague David Jones was killed aged 24 when violence erupted on a picket line at Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, in 1984, said many communities had never come to terms with Mrs Thatcher’s actions. “I was only a kid at the time of the strike really. It hurt, but not as much as some of the older guys who had families and mortgages. It split communities and it split families,” he said.

Chris Kitchen, general secretary for the National Union of Miners, said: “We’ve been waiting for a long time to hear the news of Baroness Thatcher’s demise and I can’t say I’m sorry.”