FORMER National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leader Arthur Scargill joined hundreds who gathered for a march and meeting at Dodworth Miners’ Welfare last weekend to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the start of the 1984/1985 strike.

Hundreds came to pay their respects to those who fell and mark the demise of an industry.

Mr Scargill attended the meeting in a rare appearance - and received a standing ovation following his speech.

He said: “I want to say thank you to all those miners who took part in the strike.

“I pay tribute to all those miners and their families.

“I’ll never forget Christmas of 1984.

“Some people say it was a terrible time but I believe my recollection is right - it was one of the best times we’ve ever had.

“Forty years ago the Tory government, led by Thatcher, declared war on the NUM.

“They had been preparing for a showdown with the NUM long before they came to power.

“We were faced with area pit closures and therefore we concluded we had to respond with industrial action.

“We walked into history in 1984 and we also entered the Pantheon of working class heroes and heroines.”

There is a full rundown of the anniversary on page four.