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New DVD chronicles life on the picket lines in 1984

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SCENES from the strikes have been compiled by historians as they take a look back at communities as they took to picket lines.

A DVD, titled The Greatest Struggle, centres on when colliery workers took industrial action between 1984 and the following year in a fight for jobs it says was “one of the most bitter industrial disputes Britain has ever seen”.

Striking miners and families from Easington, Eppleton, Wearmouth, Dawdon and Murton among others feature in the film, with scenes outside the pits, streets of their villages and clashes with police included in the footage.

John Dawson, who is among the team to have put together the DVD, said: “The year-long strike involved hardship and violence as pit communities from around the UK fought to retain their local collieries – for many the only source of employment.

“With scenes from the North East of England, we witness events with miners and their families from Ellington, Bates, Whittle, Ashington, Dawdon, Wearmouth and Easington Collieries and include many more to see how it was in that year- long strike.

“You never know who you may see in this film. It could be yourself, a family member, friend or a work colleague. As Arthur Scargill said to everyone at a huge rally, ‘When you look back, you’ll look back with pride, and you’ll say to your son or your daughter, in 1984 I took part in the greatest struggle in trade union history.’

“I fought to save your pit, I fought to save the job, I fought to save this community, but in doing so, I preserved my dignity as a human being and as a member of the finest trade union in the world.

“I was part of the strike myself so I know what it was like and it was very hard.

The film includes footage shot by amateurs and has been put together by the Six Townships history group.

Others it has put together include Easington A Journey Through Time, Colliery Villages of Durham, Durham Miners’ Gala, Sunderland A Sentimental Journey and South Hetton Demolished.

The latest addition to the archive is £4.99 and available to all schools free.

It can be bought via www.sixtownships.org.uk.

 

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