Former miners parade Thatcher effigy

Some former miners in South Yorkshire have reacted to the pageantry in London by parading an effigy of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in a noose and plan to burn a coffin later.

Former miners parade Thatcher effigy

Some former miners in South Yorkshire have reacted to the pageantry in London by parading an effigy of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in a noose and plan to burn a coffin later.

But in many former pit villages they simply decided to ignore the ceremonial funeral.

Residents of Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire, were preparing to pull a replica of her coffin through the streets before setting it ablaze.

An effigy of the late Conservative leader had been strung up in a noose outside the Union Jack social club with signs reading: "Thatcher the milk snatcher" and "Thatcher the scab".

One home in the town displayed a huge sign saying: "The Lady's not for turning but tonight she'll be for burning."

Residents stopped to take photos of the Rusty Dudley pub in the High Street, which was decked out with bunting and banners that said: "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, Thatcher's Britain has gone bust" and "That's another fine mess you've got us into Maggie".

In nearby Grimethorpe, though, only a handful of people turned out to watch the funeral service on the TV in the working men's club and none of those seemed particularly interested in what was happening.

Former miner Jim Sellars, 52, turned up in full mining gear complete with a blackened face.

He said he had come to drink to the memory of his father, also a miner, and not to watch the ceremony.

Asked about the cost of the London funeral, he said: "I think it's disgusting. We have to pay for our own funerals so why didn't she pay for hers.

"It's £10m that could be put into the community."

Around Grimethorpe, former miners had put up a range of banners.

On the old pit winding wheel, at the northern entrance to the village, one banner said: "Thatcher died naturally but she murdered our pit."

And on a footbridge over the main road at the other end of the village, another read: "No tears for Thatcher."

Outside the working men's club, one small banner said: "At Last".

Hundreds gathered outside the Union Jack Memorial Club in Goldthorpe, where the late prime minister's effigy hung, with several men dressed in National Coal Board clothing and hard hats.

Songs including Rod Stewart's 'Maggie May', which includes the line "Wake up Maggie, I think I've got something to say to you", and 'Going Underground' by The Jam were played as crowds spilled out of the club and lined the street.

Several National Union of Mineworkers pit banners were paraded past, prompting cheers and applause from bystanders.

At 1pm, a horse and cart pulled up to the club bearing a replica coffin containing another effigy of the late Tory leader. It was manned by someone in a Margaret Thatcher mask drinking milk.

A piper played as the horsedrawn "hearse" led a parade up the street.

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