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Yorkshire titles recall strike that changed Britain

A trio of weekly papers in Arthur Scargill’s one-time Yorkshire heartland clubbed together to commemorate this week’s 25th anniversary of the start of the miners’ strike.

The Wakefield Express, Pontefract and Castleford Express and Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express were at the frontline of the bitter year-long dispute which tore apart families and communities.

This week the three Yorkshire Weekly News Group titles got together to produce a 12-page supplement packed with reports, memories and pictures from the time of the strike.

The strike had a huge affect across Wakefield district which at the time the strike began on 5 March 1984 had 18 working collieries.

In the year that followed there were bloody riots, tragic deaths and families were torn apart. But there were good times too, enduring friendships were forged and community spirit strengthened.

The supplement, which included editorial contributions from all three papers, was sponsored by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), whose former leader Mr Scargill called the strike in protest at the government’s pit closure plans.

It included an exclusive piece on the strike by Mirror columnist and former Times labour editor Paul Routledge, who covered the dispute from Wakefield.

The supplement also looked at the legacy of the strike, including what remains of Wakefield’s mining communities, the pits and what became of the miners and their children.

Rebecca Whittington, news editor at the Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express, said: “The miners’ strike is a very important part of the district’s history, and many of our readers will have been involved in the strike effort in some way or another.

“We had four weeks to pull together factual, emotive and relevant editorial which would strike a chord with readers across the district.

“Thanks to promotion within our weekly editions and good communication between editorial, advertising and sales departments across our three sites, we have produced a supplement which we can all be proud of.

“Hopefully the satisfaction we gained in producing the pull-out will be mirrored by the enjoyment our readers get from it.”

Each of the Johnston Press owned publications used their websites and Facebook groups to promote the supplement.

And an online section was put together for each of the websites which included a memory board for user comments, video footage from the strike and some editorial content and photographs.