Pit closures. 10 Downing Street. And look… hair!

So, there I was, sat minding my own business nonchalantly flicking through old issues of my local weekly paper.

Nothing unusual there you might think. Although sadly I fear that today far fewer people actually read their local paper than in times past. But I digress.

Turning the page, I come across one of those ‘Blast from the Past’ special features.  And that’s where the pit closures and No.10 Downing Street come in. The hair (and the big glasses) come later.

Let me explain. If like me you’re from mining stock, the 1980s and 90s will forever be etched on your mind as the decades when coal mining died a slow death in this country.

First came the tumultuous, disastrous year-long miners strike of 1984. A bitter industrial dispute that pitched miner against miner, even relative against relative.

Working for a newspaper based in the heart of the Nottinghamshire coalfield, the strike and the decimation of the industry that followed was huge news. It certainly kept me busy.

From taking a trip inside one of the wire-mesh protected ‘battle buses’ ferrying working miners through picket lines to reporting from the striking miners’ heartland, there were so many stories to tell.

But if the strike failed to unite, when the axe finally fell on most of Britain’s collieries in the early 1990s Nottinghamshire’s coalfield communities fought back in force.

My newspaper group, the Mansfield Chad and Worksop Guardian, championed a campaign against the cuts, which ended with a 136,000-name petition being handed in to the Prime Minister’s office in Downing Street.

Together with our local MPs and miners in their pit helmets, the two newspaper editors and myself strolled along that famous street to knock on that iconic black door with its bright shiny number 10.

It was a surreal experience. After all, who would have thought I would ever be stood outside that famous door, let alone face a bank of photographers snapping away?

But that’s also where the hair comes in. Just take a look at the good-looking chap on the far right of the photo. Yep, it’s me. In best 90s fashion big glasses. And big hair to go with it.

Oh boy, now that is a blast from the past…