Video: Yorkshire ex-miners burn Thatcher effigy in Goldthorpe

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SOME former miners reacted to the pageantry in London by parading an effigy of Baroness Thatcher in a noose and plan to burn a coffin later.

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A miner in Goldthorpe, Yorkshire cheers as protesters set fire to a coffin containing an effigy of Margaret Thatcher after a protest march.

A miner in Goldthorpe, Yorkshire cheers as protesters set fire to a coffin containing an effigy of Margaret Thatcher after a protest march.

But in many former pit villages in South Yorkshire they simply decided to ignore the ceremonial funeral.

Residents of Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire, were preparing to pull a replica of her coffin through the streets before setting it ablaze.

An effigy of the late Tory leader had been strung up in a noose outside the Union Jack social club with signs reading: “Thatcher the milk snatcher” and “Thatcher the scab”.

One home in the town displayed a huge sign saying: “The Lady’s not for turning but tonight she’ll be for burning.”

Protesters outside the Courts of Justice in the Strand prior to the funeral service of Baroness Thatcher

Protesters outside the Courts of Justice in the Strand prior to the funeral service of Baroness Thatcher

Residents stopped to take photos of the Rusty Dudley pub in the High Street, which was decked out with bunting and banners that said: “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 nearby Grimethorpe, though, only a handful of people turned out to watch the funeral service on the TV in the working men’s club and none of those seemed particularly interested in what was happening.

Former miner Jim Sellars, 52, turned up in full mining gear complete with a blackened face.

He said he had come to drink to the memory of his father, also a miner, and not to watch the ceremony.

Miners arrive at Easington Colliery club for today's gathering as the funeral of Baroness Thatcher takes place.

Miners arrive at Easington Colliery club for today's gathering as the funeral of Baroness Thatcher takes place.

But he said: “I’m not watching that.”

Asked about the cost of the London funeral, he said: “I think it’s disgusting. We have to pay for our own funerals so why didn’t she pay for hers.

“It’s £10 million that could be put into the community.”

Around Grimethorpe, former miners had put up a range of banners.

The coffin of Baroness Thatcher rests in the Crypt Chapel of St Mary Undercroft beneath the Houses of Parliament

The coffin of Baroness Thatcher rests in the Crypt Chapel of St Mary Undercroft beneath the Houses of Parliament

On the old pit winding wheel, at the northern entrance to the village, one banner said: “Thatcher died naturally but she murdered our pit.”

And on a footbridge over the main road at the other end of the village, another read: “No tears for Thatcher.”

Outside the working men’s club, one small banner said: “At Last”.

Hundreds gathered outside the Union Jack Memorial Club in Goldthorpe, where the late prime minister’s effigy hung, with several men dressed in National Coal Board clothing and hard hats.

Songs including Rod Stewart’s Maggie May, which includes the line “Wake up Maggie, I think I’ve got something to say to you”, and Going Underground by The Jam were played as crowds spilled out of the club and lined the street.

Several National Union of Mineworkers pit banners were paraded past, prompting cheers and applause from bystanders.

At 1pm, a horse and cart pulled up to the club bearing a replica coffin containing another effigy of the late Tory leader. It was manned by someone in a Margaret Thatcher mask drinking milk.

A piper played as the horsedrawn “hearse” led a parade up the street.

Among the crowd in Goldthorpe was former miner Tony Hiles, who worked in the local pit and picketed throughout the 1984-5 miners’ strike.

He said: “I’m not a bitter man, I don’t hate people. But I have no feelings for her. I couldn’t care less that she’s died.

“Margaret Thatcher decimated all this area. We had eight pits in a five-mile radius. The town used to be buzzing, in the villages everyone would go out. And she shut every single one. There’s nothing left.”

Robbie Conroy, of Doncaster, a miner for 32 years, said Baroness Thatcher was “a witch” and today was “a great day for working-class people”.

He said: “The working class has been slaughtered by this woman.

“There’s young people here who weren’t alive when the strike was on but the feeling is still here.”

At around 3.10pm the mock coffin containing an effigy of Lady Thatcher was carried to waste ground by a row of derelict terrace houses behind Goldthorpe’s high street.

Fireworks were set off before it was placed on a pyre, along with a floral wreath that spelled “SCAB”.

It was then lit to cries of “scab, scab, scab” and loud cheers.

Several onlookers spat on the coffin as flames took hold.

One man dressed as the devil held up a plaque as part of a silent protest that read “the Devil has come for Thatcher the children’s milk snatcher”.