This part of Derbyshire is strewn with communities built and grown on the mining industry, and the proud traditions associated with the life that entailed. In recent times there have been many films, plays, songs and books based on the 1984 - 1985 miners’ strike, now confined to pages of modern history.
But for the many thousands of local families who took part in that 12 month fight to try to save the industry and their communities, the effects are still very much part of life today for them, their children and their grandchildren.
Each of us who struggled that year has our own very personal and precious memories that are as real now as they were more than 30 years ago - the
hardship, the daily worry and the private tears of so many family, friends and neighbours.
But we also remember the enormous kindness and generosity of strangers, both at home and abroad, the strong bonds of friendship that have lasted a lifetime, and the laughs. And did we have a laugh or two.
Far from being confined to the history books, though, the injustice of the strike is as raw today as it was then. One particular day in June 1984 has come to symbolise the state’s fight against what the Prime Minister of the day Margaret Thatcher called, the enemy within: the battle of Orgreave.
The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign includes ex-miners, women involved in the miners’ action groups, trade unionists.
The campaign is strictly non-party political and welcomes support from anyone who has genuine concerns.
In December the campaign formally presented a legal submission to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, asking her to consider establishing an independent panel - similar to that set up to investigate the 1989 Hillsborough disaster - or a public inquiry.
While it waits for a decision on this, the campaign continues to attract wide-ranging support from all walks of life, among them the Police Action
Lawyers Group - a national organisation comprised of solicitors, barristers and legal executives who represent complainants against the police throughout England and Wales - who state that the passage of time should not deprive those affected ‘the chance to get at the truth and hold those responsible to account, and should not prevent lessons being learned which are as current today as they ever were’.
On Monday, May 2 we will be joining the annual May Day march in Chesterfield with our banner and invite all ex-miners, women’s action group members and former miners’ families to show their support by joining us at the town hall steps from 10.30am. We’ll also be running a stall in the small market square with information and a chance to buy a range of campaign merchandise.
With the recent closure of the country’s last deep mine at Kellingley in Yorkshire, what better way of showing that the fight for truth and justice for our mining communities is far from over. For further information about the campaign visit our website: www.otjc.org.uk
Or view a four-minute film at
Barbara Jackson Secretary of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign