UK

Margaret Thatcher Dead: Ex-Miners Plan Party For Day Of Funeral

09/04/2013 22:00 BST | Updated 09/04/2013 22:14 BST

Hundreds of ex-miners will have a "hell of a time" at a party with bands and comedians as Baroness Thatcher's funeral takes place, an official has said.

Durham Miners' Association (DMA) general secretary David Hopper said that at a meeting in the last days of the North East coal industry, a unanimous agreement was made to hold a celebration when she died.

durham miners

Next Wednesday is expected to be party time in Durham

It will take place on Wednesday at the Easington Colliery Club in County Durham, subject to the approval of its committee.

Mr Hopper said: "It's the end of an era for the person who destroyed our coal mines.

"We are recognising that the perpetrator of all this evil has gone and thankfully she will not be coming back.

"At the meeting we agreed that at Thatcher's demise, if we were still around, we would put on an alternative event.

"We will have a hell of a time, we will have comedians on and bands and we are going to enjoy ourselves.

"There will be a lot of men wanting to have a drink and celebrate.

"The proof will be in the pudding, but the club is big and there will be 5-600 miners in there with room for more in an overflow."

The pit in Easington Colliery, which was the setting for the film Billy Elliott, closed in 1993, with the loss of 1,400 jobs and it is one of the most deprived parts of the country.

Mr Hopper said: "When you walk down the main street you would think you are in Beirut, it's an absolute state."

Alan Cummings, chairman of the DMA and a stalwart of the 1984 miners' strike, said of Baroness Thatcher: "I couldn't stand her.

"She had a very patronising manner and I could have put my foot through the television whenever I saw her on there.

"We opposed and hated everything she did. She has wrecked thousands and thousands of lives so, no, it's not in poor taste.

"We can understand why people are happy and rejoicing that she has gone because they remember these communities have never recovered."

A separate event on Tuesday evening for women who supported the striking miners has also been planned.

Baroness Thatcher is not exspected to be mourned by the ex-miners of Scotland, a coal industry veteran has also said.

John Kane was a miner for 37 years before being made redundant in 1989 with the closure of the Bilston Glen pit in Midlothian.

"I'm not the type of person that says anything against the dead but I don't give two hoots about Thatcher," said Mr Kane, 75, a guide at Scotland's National Mining Museum.

"If you went into a miners' club just now, the main cry would be 'the witch is dead'.

"Nobody has forgotten."

Grandfather Mr Kane, from Penicuik, began his mining career at the Whitehill colliery in 1952 aged 15 and went on to work at Bilston Glen and the Lady Victoria colliery.

The latter, opened in 1895 as Scotland's first "super-pit", ceased production in 1981 and is now home to the National Mining Museum Scotland.