Inspirational Ray to discuss his role in bringing gay community into miners’s strike - The Rugby Observer

Inspirational Ray to discuss his role in bringing gay community into miners’s strike

Rugby Editorial 14th Mar, 2024   0

AN INSPIRATIONAL figure in a movement which brought the gay community and striking miners together in the 1980s will speak at an event in Rugby next week.

Ray Goodspeed, one of the founders of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) group, will talk and take questions at the event following a screening of the 2014 film Pride, based on the true story of how the group was formed in 1984 and raised £22,500 – equivalent to around £90,000 today – to support striking miners and their families.

In turn, the miners stood in solidarity against prejudice towards the gay community during the AIDS crisis.

Chris Mawby, Rugby Labour’s spokesperson for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans issues, said: “It is fantastic that Ray Gooodspeed is coming to talk to us about his experience of this tough time in UK history and the brilliant movement he helped to found.

“The miners were facing such hardship in 1984 and the AIDS crisis was also having a wide-reaching impact. With it being the 40th anniversary, it’s great to have an opportunity to get together and reflect.”

The Miners’ Strike started 40 years ago this month and lasted a year, in response to plans to close 20 coal pits, many of which were the main employers in their towns.

The striking miners suffered financially and the pit closures ultimately went ahead, with the loss of 20,000 jobs.

Rugby Borough Councillor Alison Livesey, a longtime friend of Ray Goodspeed, added: “While not in the same league as the support LGSM provided, during the strike my workplace collected food and other essentials for striking miners in the Yorkshire village of Driffield.

“We hired a minivan and a group of us took it up to Driffield, our ‘allocated pit village’. We all stayed overnight in the homes of striking miners and the hospitality they showed us was terrific despite the difficult circumstances. I’m proud to be able to remember my own small contribution to a seminal moment in British History.”

The Pride Film Night and Talk takes place at the Benn Hall on Tuesday (March 19) from 6:30pm. Entry costs £10 on the door, with proceeds going to the Rugby and Bulkington Constituency Labour Party Campaign Fund.


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