Miners deserve respect and support, they faced death on a daily basis

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I thought dinosaurs were extinct but I am obviously wrong. I refer to Keith Harrow (Derbyshire Times, Your Opinions, October 25, ‘Miners’ retreat: Why do they think they are so special?).

He clearly has either little or no recollection of the industrial history of the United Kingdom, otherwise he would recognise the part the miners played in industrialising this country and the part they and the steel industry played in World War One and Two in keeping the armed forces supplied with everything they needed.

I feel he obviously has never been near a coal mine. I am proud to be a son from a mining family. I have only been down one coal mine (Shireoaks in the Nottinghamshire coalfield).

We had to crawl on hands and knees and slither on our bellies for the length of the coal face (210 yards). We passed men who were working in those conditions. The pads cut into the backs of my knees, which were sore for weeks afterwards. I can honestly say that I would never have worked in a coal mine for £500 a day. He claims that the miners, steel workers and electricians held the country to ransom but I ask, does he really think these workers were so selfish and wanted to cause this disruption?

It was the governments of their day with their economic policies which held the country to ransom.

In my view Keith clearly has no knowledge of what caused the cost of living to spiral or chooses to ignore the real culprits. As far as this “holiday destination” is concerned, miners faced death, mutilation and fatal health conditions on a daily basis.

Are we really so inhumane that we would deny them the facilities to recuperate?

Has Keith not witnessed the devastation Thatcher, Blair and others wreaked upon the mining and steel communities?

There are no miners left to think they are a special case. We are now an ex-mining country with ex-miners still suffering the health problems working in the bowels of the earth caused them. What more ‘deserving cases’ can there be?

David Fox

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