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Derbyshire miners launch campaign to stop home closure

FORMER miners in Derbyshire have launched a campaign to stop the closure of their convalescent home.

The county’s last three collieries, Bolsover, Markham and Shirebrook, were shut in 1993 in the Tories’ final attack on what remained of the industry prior to privatisation.

In 2005, the North Derbyshire area of the National Union of Mineworkers transferred its few remaining funds to the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO).

The handover included the union’s convalescent home in the Lincolnshire seaside resort of Skegness.

The home, which opened in 1939, became known as the Miners’ Retreat and in recent years has been a holiday home for ex-miners and their families.

Now CISWO plans to close the home in October, but former miners and their families are opposing the move. An online petition has gathered more than 1,100 signatures so far.

Former Markham miner Jeffrey Bird said: “The whole thing is disgusting and has left us in complete shock. We are up in arms about it.

“This is our heritage. It was created by the miners for the miners and everyone who has ever been there has loved it.”

Fellow former Derbyshire miner John Dunn told the Morning Star: “Even the Derbyshire NUM banner is kept at the convalescent home. What will happen to that?”

CISWO chief executive Nicola Didlock said: “With reducing numbers of holidaymakers each year and the increasing costs of retaining the building to meet the needs of the client group, it is felt that closure is sadly necessary.”

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