Former miners and their families remembered the miners’ strike with a special presentation on the 30th anniversary of the start of the bitter dispute.

Sixteen ex-miners or their partners, now members of the Kirklees branch of the public service union Unison, yesterday received special commemorative plates.

The miners’ strike of 1984-85 was recalled at the branch’s annual meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall, where Grange Moor Colliery Brass Band also played

The plates were presented by Dewsbury-born Chris Kitchen, general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, whose father worked at Thornhill pit in Dewsbury.

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Among those who received the plates were former pit deputy Albert Robertshaw and wife Diane, of Lepton.

Albert, now 61, was one of the striking miners at Denby Grange Colliery who stayed out a full 12 months.

Diane, 58, was a leading member of the group Women Against Pit Closures. She collected and distributed food parcels and drove around the picket lines.

During the strike Diane, who had two young children at the time, Antony, nine, and Lisa, seven, also spoke at a rally at Huddersfield Town Hall attended by Jack Taylor, then president of Yorkshire NUM.

Diane Robertshaw pictured in 1984 with her children Lisa and Anthony and with Jack Taylor and David Sheard
Diane Robertshaw pictured in 1984 with her children Lisa and Anthony and with Jack Taylor and David Sheard
 

She was pictured at the meeting with a young David Sheard, now leader of Kirklees Council.

Diane said: “They were tough times and there was a lot of fear. Not fear for myself but fear for my children and for our home.

“We survived on food parcels. They tried to starve us out and we were totally reliant on the goodwill of others and the generosity of our supporters.”

Albert didn’t see any of the violence of the picket lines but said: “We knew it happened.

“If the police lads on duty with us were locals we used to co-operate together but if they were from down South they would get heavy-handed because they thought they could get away with it.”

Another former miner, Michael Rogerson, 50, of Barnsley, who works at Kirklees Council’s Honley highways depot, worked at Barrow pit and told how he was on strike on his 21st birthday.

“Nothing is forgotten, especially where I live,” he said. “On my 21st I went out with £2.40 in my pocket because that was all my grandmother could afford to give me.”

Miners’ chief Mr Kitchen was also a young man at the time of the strike. “I was 17 and worked in Castleford,” he said.

“I just thought it would be a big adventure and we would be out four or six weeks and we’d be back at work but we were out for a year.

Those who received plates were: Jimmy Bates, Arthur Brammer, Susan Ferguson, George Guest, Margaret Prentice, Diane Robertshaw, Michael Rogerson, Paul Sikorski, Glyn Silver, Kevin Silver, Ian Swallow, Sean Westerby, Alan Clegg, Jayne Clegg, Chris Cotton and Mavis Tipler.

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