Tyne & Wear

Durham students miners' strike-themed event 'disgraceful'

Police facing miners' pickets outside Orgreave coking plant Image copyright PA
Image caption The organisers said to expect "a confrontation bigger than the Battle of Orgreave"

A miners' strike-themed student rugby club event has been criticised as "disgraceful" and swiftly cancelled.

Guests had been asked to come dressed as miners or members of Margaret Thatcher's government.

The Facebook invitation said: "We want flat caps, filth... a few working-class-beating-bobbies wouldn't go amiss."

Durham University said the event was "wholly unacceptable". The organisers have been approached for comment.

Pro-vice chancellor Owen Adams said: "Durham University and Trevelyan College utterly deplore this event."

It had been cancelled by the students concerned, he said.

"We are speaking to those students and we are considering what further action to take in due course," he added.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The Facebook invitation was headlined Backs v Forwards

Organisers of the event, who appeared to be associated with the rugby team at Trevelyan College, asked those playing different positions in the game to take the opposing sides in the 1984 dispute.

Forwards were asked to come as miners and to "think pickaxes... think headlamps... think 12% unemployment in 1984".

Backs were asked to elect one member to be "the Iron Lady herself" with others coming as her government, police officers or Falklands War heroes.

Guests were told to "expect a confrontation bigger than the Battle of Orgreave".

Image copyright Google
Image caption Trevelyan College authorities said they deplored the proposed event

County Durham has a rich mining history with, at its height, tens of thousands of miners working in pits across the area.

The strike saw arrests and clashes between miners and police in villages such as Easington Colliery.

The Durham Miners' Association said it was "appalled" to hear about the event and pleased the university and college had taken "swift and appropriate action".

Twitter users called the event "disgraceful" and "disgusting".

They said the organisers had a "complete lack of respect for local history" and "ought to be ashamed".

Mr Adams said: "Regrettably, there are occasions where student behaviour falls short of the standards we expect.

"The university reserves the right to take appropriate action against those who fall short of these standards."

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