There was sadness on the streets of Easington, County Durham, yesterday after Terry Hatcham, the last miner to stay on strike after the end of the conflict of 1984-5, died following a heart attack. Hatcham, who worked at the local pit from the age of 16, was a key member of the picket lines during the bitter dispute.
When the strike ended, Hatcham refused to believe that the NUM had given up so easily and concealed himself on some waste ground until 2008, when Arthur Scargill visited the area personally to persuade him to stand down. By then, the brazier he had been using had gone out because coal was no longer available in the region.
‘We told him to come down to the club for a pint,’ said former co-worker Nigel Robson, who remembers trying to persuade Hatcham to come in from his one-man picket line. ‘He wouldn’t have any of it, continually calling us “scabs” for breaking his line and occasionally attempting to rush a police car when one went past.’
‘Even when the pit closed, he said it was all a ploy by Maggie Thatcher to get him to give up,’ added Phil Howdon, another former miner. ‘When they took down the headgear, he said it was “just Tory trickery” and “full of mistakes that a real miner would never fall for”.’
After Scargill’s visit, Hatcham finally realised his former colleagues hadn’t been lying to him for the last 23 years and, after singing a couple of verses of The Red Flag, he abandoned his vigil. He was promptly given a voucher for £20 off a £50 shop by Asda, who had been waiting for him to leave the site before building a supermarket on it.
Hatcham’s funeral will take place next Tuesday, with the colliery brass band reforming to play for his cortege. Whilst Labour Leader Ed Miliband and Arthur Scargill were both originally scheduled to attend, it has come to light that neither will actually be there as they have forgotten the way ‘up north’.