A POET who helped to feed struggling families during the miners’ strike performed at a rally marking the anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave.
Shaun Garratty, of Wickersley, who penned a poem about the 1984 conflict between picketing miners and police officers, was not expecting to have the chance to perform the poem at the rally.
But he said he had received recongition and respect after reading his poem about the conflict.
Shaun said: “Years ago, I helped to dish out food parcels to striking miners and their families.
“I was working for Manor Community Transport in Sheffield and we went round local supermarkets and local wholesale markets to get fruit and veg and other food.
“We went round most of the coalfields in the Yorkshire and north Nottinghamshire area on two minibuses.
“We went day after day distributing food packages and often went to the Miners’ Welfare Centre in Thurcroft.
“There were people scrambling to get a bite of food — they were almost fighting to get food parcels because they had nothing at all.”
Shaun later set up a talent agency, Starlites, which supplied extras for a recreation of the Battle of Orgreave which was screened on Channel Four.
“I noticed the anniversary was coming up again and it stayed in the back of my mind,” he said.
“I wrote about Orgreave, thinking about the anniversary coming up, and I got in touch with someone involved in the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.
“I said I had written this poem and I showed it to them.”
Shaun suggested to the organisers that they could publish the poem on their campaign website.
He attended this year’s rally on June 18, where there were several guest speakers.
“They marched through the village of Orgreave to the field where the battle took place,” said Shaun.
“The next thing I knew, my daughter said they wanted me to read the poem.
“It got a very good reception and afterwards quite a lot of people came up to me, thanked me and said it was really meaningful and that it was a really good poem.
“I met a couple of guys who were there at the picketline and they said it was brilliant.
“It got me quite a bit of recognition and respect.”
Shaun said he supported the campaign for an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave.
“There ought to be an inquiry so they can get to the bottom of it,” he said.
“I know these things are expensive but there were a lot of people who fought for what they believed in and ended up with criminal records.”
The Battle of Orgreave by Shaun Garratty
On the eighteenth of June eighty four
There was a fight
That almost turned into war
Several hundreds of men
Had gathered and then
Several hundred police
Turned up to confront them
They were fighting for work
For coal and not dole
But their fate it was sealed
They were fighting for sod all
But little did they know
As they stood on that day
That their management had lied
And had cast them away
The government had made
A deal that was sealed
There was no point at all
For that day in that field
In the village of Orgreave
They stood up for their rights
They didn't turn up
For a war, or a fight
They were men who just wanted
To save all their jobs
But were treated like trash
And were labelled as yobs
They were treated with torment
Abuse and neglect
By the ones who were paid
To serve and protect
They charged, and they charged
Into innocent men
With their batons and shields
Again and again
Until the field once covered
In grass and in mud
Became a field that was covered
In tears and in blood
Many years have gone by
But I've never forgot
How those brave men they fought
For all that they'd got
Just a moment ago
I looked back and cried
At that long bloody year
When an industry died