I CAN assure Andy Leigh (HAS, Jan 23) that I look back on the years I spent as a miner neither with nostalgia or rose-tinted glasses. What I do have is respect for those (including friends and family) who lost lives, limbs and health in the pits.

Surely the Gala is to remember the sacrifices made so Mr Macmillan was able to tell us “You’ve never had it so good”. And be grateful. Instead I feel like “the forgotten army” branded as “the enemy within.” Except for at least one day in the year.

Bill Bartle, Barnard Castle.