FORMER pitmen are to hold a get together to mark the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike.

The Durham Miners’ Association is to hold an event on June 21 to mark the anniversary of the year-long dispute.

The union says it is inviting all its friends and supporters and particularly those miners who took part in the strike to its headquarters in Durham “to renew old friendships and celebrate the spirit that endured a year-long battle for the preservation of jobs and communities.”

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The eight-hour celebration, starting at 2pm, will include a bar, buffet, films and music.

General secretary Dave Hopper said the recent release of Cabinet papers under the 30-year rule: “exposed the falsehoods and deceit used to defeat the miners strike of 1984-85.

“No everyone knows that Thatcher lied about the full extent of her pit closure programme and was so determined to butcher the coal industry and smash the National Union of Mineworkers that she was even preparing to use the army to break the strike”.

Mr Hopper criticised Labour and trade union leaders whose failure to come to the miners’ aid, he said, meant they bore a huge responsibility for their defeat and the weakening of the trade union movement.

He added: “Now we have to fight, with a weakened trade union movement, against draconian Tory-Liberal austerity measures which are impoverishing working people while the rich, who caused the economic crisis, have doubled their wealth since 2008.

“We need the fighting spirit which sustained us through that year-long strike more than ever because the fight for our communities which started in 1984 is still ongoing.

“I hope everyone will come and have a great time.”