Heather’s Post Gala Day Reflections

This morning is the first time I have had a few moments to sit and reflect, John and I have had a wonderful weekend spent with good friends and comrades some of whom are still with us today.

The Women’s Banner Group, WOW I feel so privileged to have been part of such a wonderful journey, it nearly killed me mind but like the true “pit lass” I am I gritted my teeth, clung on to my sisters and I did it.

It has been some journey for all who took part in putting together an absolutely magnificent piece of art and I’m so grateful that I have been allowed to be part of “making history”.

To the younger women who took part I want to say how inspired I am by all of you and I know you will go on to do great things.

When I walked, or shall I say limped into the cathedral I was soon able to stand tall, to hold my head high, as all the women who had gone before me came into my mind, as all those strong women I was so fortunate to meet in the great strike of 1984/85 came into my thoughts and as I looked around me and saw the remarkable women of today walking beside me.

I was also reminded of my mining heritage, not that its ever far from my mind. I thought of those brave men who worked in the bowels of the earth, who paid the price of coal and who are still suffering from working in unimaginable conditions. I thought of the grandfather I never met as he was killed at Shotton pit, his dead body taken to his wife in a wheel barrow, I thought of my step grandad who died of pneumoconiosis and I thought of my own father who died as a direct result of mining, he had emphysema.

I reflected on how as a child I came to the “big meeting” how we danced in the streets, how we always felt safe and surrounded by love wrapped in the banners of our communities.

All these thoughts went through my mind in the few minutes while I walked diwn the aisle of our cathedral, as I marched through the streets of our city, as I saw in the crowd the faces of my past , present and future.

Thankyou to all who helped make those memories come flooding back.

Thankyou Mary Turner, Laura Lee Daly Lynn Gibson and all those women who on Saturday MADE HISTORY and allowed me to be part of it all.

Now I’m in tears so I must stop

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