South Wales Guardian Opinion

South Wales Guardian: RECORD-BREAKERS: This team of Betws miners celebrate a coal production record. RECORD-BREAKERS: This team of Betws miners celebrate a coal production record.

AS tomorrow's double-page spread on the 1984 miners strike shows, the scars left by this industrial conflict will never fully heal.

For those of us who were around at the time, the recollections of some of those involved will inevitably stir our own memories – both good and bad – along with the jolting thought: where the heck did thirty years go?

As a paper located in the heart of the Amman Valley, Gwendraeth and Swansea Valley coalfields, the South Wales Guardian obviously played a huge role in recording how the strike unfolded.

A trawl through the Guardians of the day reveal a world of flying pickets, NCB lorry convoys, demonstrations and soup kitchens – yes, soup kitchens – here in Ammanford.

To this day the Guardian still receives praise for the sensitive manner in which it portrayed the strike, its participants and, of course, the crucial role played by the wives of miners during those long and difficult months.

Perhaps appropriately, the Guardian's editor at the time, Mr Noel Lewis, of Llandybie, had not spent his formative years in a smoky newspaper office hunched over a clattering typewriter – as a young man he had earned his pay toiling underground in local pits.

Mr Lewis died suddenly at the age of 59 in December 1984 when the dispute was still at its height.

It was probably just as well he did not live to see the subsequent pit closures, wholesale loss of jobs and shattered communities – it would have broken his heart.

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