Yesterday was a sunny Sunday in Betteshanger Community Park and, as usual on the August Bank Holiday Monday, it was the Kent Miner’s Festival.
I was delighted to join Labour comrades on our fundraising stall and to speak to community groups celebrating both the heritage, spirit and legacy of the mines that used to be at Betteshanger, Tilmanstone, Chislet and Snowdown.
2018 is an extra special year for the festival because groups were commemorating the dedication and service of Kent’s miners during World War One. The miners’ tunnelling skills were invaluable to the war effort, and there were special displays and costumed historians bringing history and heritage to life.
One very special moment for me was when I spoke to a 95-year-old gentleman who had come to the festival with a commemorative medal he was given for bravery, dedication and service during World War Two. In 1942, the Kent pits were bombed twice as the Germans tried to disrupt the key industry. It was fascinating to hear stories about miners in wartime and how they – including my new friend – had served their country with their efforts in our local pits.