Spirit of mining celebrated at strike festival

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Hundreds of people celebrated the spirit of mining communities more than 30 years since the strike of 1984-5.

The third With Banners Held High festival was staged at Unity Works on Saturday.

There was drama, live music, film screenings, speeches and displays of miners’ banners at the event to commemorate the year-long strike against pit closures.

A daytime festival at venue on Westgate was followed by a fundraising gig headlined by Ferocious Dog, with support from Parson’s Lot and The Star Botherers.

Cash was raised for the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.

The event, compered by broadcaster Ian Clayton, included the launch of The Flame Still Burns, a book by festival organiser Granville Williams on how mining inspired art.

Mr Williams said: “The atmosphere at this, the third With Banners Held High, was marvellous.

“There was a real feeling of people coming together and thoroughly enjoying themselves, whether that was sitting and listening to the wonderful music and poetry, watching evocative films, taking part in discussions, or witnessing Danny Mellor’s fantastic one-man play Undermined.

“It was a great pleasure to be amongst such warm and generous people. We need reminding now and again that things can be good and With Banners Held High did just that.”

Artwork on display at the festival included drawings of dramatic scenes from the 1984-5 strike by Maltby artist Peter Price.

The pictures depict confrontations between miners and the police and also the struggle for survival as strikers’ families scavenged for food and fuel during the dispute.

The drawings were discovered by accident in the basement of the NUM offices in Barnsley.

Speakers at With Banners Held High included NUM president Nicky Wilson.