Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Miner: Thatcher death 'a great day'

Durham Miners' Association general secretary David Hopper described Baroness Thatcher's death as 'a great day for all the miners'
Durham Miners' Association general secretary David Hopper described Baroness Thatcher's death as 'a great day for all the miners'

The death of Baroness Thatcher was a "great day" for coal miners, David Hopper, general secretary of the Durham Miners' Association has said.

The ex-miner, who turned 70 on Monday, 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, a former miner who worked at Ackton Hall Colliery near Pontefract, 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 have never come to terms with Mrs Thatcher's actions.

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.

"I've got no sympathy for Margaret Thatcher and I will not be shedding a tear for her. She's done untold damage to the mining community. I don't think Margaret Thatcher had any sympathy for the mining communities she decimated, the people she threw on the dole and the state she left the country in."

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