Jean Gittins lives in a mining family, was active in a miners' support group during the 1984-5 strike and even found time to write poetry.
Here's one example of one of Jean's strike poems - Kim.
I can’t understand what has happened to Kim
This is Jean's story.
"Kim Young was a real person, she was married to a miner but has slipped out of my sight. She hasn't been to any of the re-unions that I've been to.
"I live in Kippax, as I did during the strike.
"My involvement started when I went to a young socialist meeting in BlacKpool. The political meeting opened my eyes to what might be a long strike and I came back with a different mind. It was really explained to me what a big thing this was I realised that it was a right political thing, far more than I realised at the start.
"I had written some poetry all my life but my family said 'that won't earn yer'. Publishing the booklet Kim appeared in was a fund-raising thing when the miners' funds were sequestrated.
"I find that my poetry has to be inspired by something, I can't just turn the tap on.
"It might seem odd to say but the strike was the best year of my life and very different to anything I could have expected. Who would have thought I'd be making a speech on the back of a tractor at Hyde Park with faces in the crowd stretching further back than I could see?
"Mine was a mining family including my two youngest sons who were miners. I'm not sure that, even now, some of the miners involved want reminding about the strike.
"People don't know the severity of it all. If you weren't involved why would you know? You don't always know much before getting involved in something and people wouldn't know what the strike entailed before it started.
"I learnt about other things during the strike that I hadn't thought about before, like the Irish question, I didn't know about the struggles in Ireland. Same with the Anti-apartheid struggles.
"I am 72 now, but I would go back, if I could, to 1984-5 that would do me.
"History wasn't written by people like us and I think it should be.
"You know in real life things can be depressing, I've lost a grandson who died and my neighbour had an accident recently but then one of my sons said 'Mam, you shone during the strike'.
"All in all I'm suited."
last updated: 18/03/2009 at 08:31