‘With Banners Held High we raised thousands to help fight for justice’

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A festival which marked 30 years since striking miners returned to work was so successful it will be held again next year.

Thousands of pounds was raised at With Banners Held High, held at Wakefield’s Unity Works on March 7 to commemorate the year-long coal dispute of 1984-5.

The organisers have donated £10,000 to two campaigns which are seeking answers about the role of police and the security services in the strike.

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign received £8,000 and Justice for Mineworkers was given £2,000.

Granville Williams, chairman of the organising committee, said: “A great deal of planning went into the event, and all the performers and speakers generously donated their time and skills to support it.

“I want to thank them all, as well as the planning group and everyone who worked so hard to make the day a success.”

There was music, poetry, speeches and a display of miners’ banners at the event, which included an emotional speech by veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner.

Photographs which captured historic moments during the strike were displayed.

Punk band New Model Army performed at an evening benefit gig and an Orgreave Truth and Justice CD was launched.

The organisers also commissioned a documentary of the same name about how humour helped communities cope during the strike.

The film, which tells how a new feminist movement, Women Against Pit Closures, was formed, has since been screened in New York.

Next year’s With Banners Held High Festival will be held on March 5 at Unity Hall, on Westgate.

Mr Williams added: “We plan to make it another outstanding and memorable day.”