Mining village 'celebrates' Margaret Thatcher's funeral

An Effigy of Margaret Thatcher is burnt in Goldthorpe

The funeral of Baroness Thatcher has been marked by residents of a village scarred by pit closures.

Banners and bunting were hung in Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire, in protest at her policies, as mourners gathered for the funeral at St Paul's Cathedral.

A horse-drawn, open coffin housing an effigy of the ex-prime minister was paraded through the village.

The effigy was set on fire on waste ground at around 15:15 BST and fireworks let off.

Heather Hopwood, landlady of the Rusty Dudley, in Goldthorpe, near Barnsley, said the village had "died" since the pit closure in 1994.

'For burning'

She said: "It was a brilliant community, it was really busy, but now everything has gone dead because no-one has got any money, there's no jobs."

The effigy was put up outside the Union Jack social club with signs reading: "Thatcher the milk snatcher" and "Thatcher the scab".

Analysis

Walking down the High Street people tell me that today's celebrations are either "a great idea" or "disgusting" but it seems there are plenty here to, if not celebrate, at least mark the death of the prime minister that had a huge effect on South Yorkshire.

Everyone in the village is talking about it; one man stops to say that "we're paying for her funeral so we can do what we likeā€¦. no-one liked her".

But there was an opposing view from a woman carrying her shopping away from the protest: "I just couldn't do that to anybody, what's done is done. Things move on."

Thatcher's policies have been described as divisive. Nationally, her funeral has been as well.

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

Outside the Rusty Dudley, homemade banners were erected saying: "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 November 1984, two teenage brothers were killed in Goldthorpe while collecting coal during the Miners' Strike when an embankment collapsed.

A memorial to Paul Holmes, 15, and Darren, 14, showing a map of Yorkshire with a miner on each side was put up in 2011.

However, the parade has not attracted the support of all of Goldthorpe's residents.

Caroline Woodcock said: "I agree completely what she did was wrong - closing the steel works, the pits - but this is a person and she's got a right to a peaceful funeral."

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