Comedian’s appeal to track down singing primary school pupils

Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas
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Comedian and author Mark Thomas, who was a student in Wakefield during the miners’ strike of 1984-85, is trying to track down a group of former primary school pupils from a mining village in the Wakefield area.

The youngsters, who will now be aged around 35-40 years old, sang in solidarity with the miners as they marched back to work in 1985; Mark has never forgotten the emotion their singing stirred in him.

He said: “Like many of my generation the miners’ strike was one of the defining moments of my life.

“As a student attending the Trades Council at the Wakefield Labour Club (Red Shed) my friends and I were involved in doing what we could to support the strike, fund raising benefits, collections, and going to picket lines.

“On the day of the march back to work when the strike ended in 1985, I was invited to march with the strikers back to the pit.

“As we walked through the village we passed a primary school where the kids had gathered in the playground and stood holding on to the railings, singing ‘Solidarity Forever’; they sang this to their fathers, brothers, uncles and the other members of the community.”

Unfortunately Mark cannot remember the name of the pit nor the village, only that it was in Wakefield, or possibly Barnsley.

He is putting together a show for this year’s Edinburgh Festival about the miners’ strike and what The Red Shed means to the men and women who frequent it, and he would like to talk to anyone who was in the playground that day, and to interview them for the show.

If you have any recollections of the children singing on March 3, 1985, the day the miners went back to work after a year-long strike, please email julie.marshall@jpress.co.uk