Mining communities pay respects to former president of Durham Miners' Association, David Guy (From Durham Times)
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Mining communities pay respects to former president of Durham Miners' Association, David Guy
MINING communities of the North-East united once again yesterday to pay their respects to a former union leader.
The lodge banner of Dawdon Colliery, in County Durham, where David Guy worked, was displayed as about 600 people gathered to say farewell to the former president of Durham Miners’ Association (DMA).
Family, friends and politicians from the region attended St Mary Magdalene Church, Seaham , for a service that started with Gresford, The Miners’ Hymn, and was led by Father Thomas Burke.
Fr Burke said: “David was a great man and did a lot of great work. He was loved by his family and a lot of the people gathered here today.
“We remember his life and the life of the miners.”
The father-of-two and grandfather-of-nine was an outspoken critic of Margaret Thatcher’s pit closure programme and particularly active as a union official during the Miners’ Strike of 1984-85 As association president for 27 years, Mr Guy helped many miners win thousands of pounds in compensation from the Government for industrial diseases, such as pneumoconiosis and vibration white finger.
He also helped save the Durham Miners’ Gala from extinction and built it into the country’s biggest trade union event.
He lost a five-year battle against cancer last Wednesday night, aged 66, and several MPs from the region, as well as Bob Crow, general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, attended the service to recognise his contribution to the labour movement.
Dave Hopper, a close friend and the DMA’s general secretary, said: “1984 was a bad period and we came out of that scarred for life, but he was committed to the sacked miners and he never let them down. He was a man who fought for his friends, his community and for the people his loved.”
My Guy’s body was carried from the church to music from Concierto de Aranjuez, which featured in the mining film Brassed Off, and was placed in the waiting hearse, before he was taken to Byron Walk Cemetery for burial.
White flowers spelt out Granda and a red and white floral tribute, simply said Dad.
Rodney Bickerstaff, former general secretary of Unison, who gave a eulogy in the church, said: “I have never been on a platform with David when he did not get a thunderous applause, so I ask you for one last time to put your hands together for a great socialist, a great trade unionist and our friend, David Guy.”