Exclusive: Durham college rugby club plan ‘Thatcher vs Miners’ social
The dress code includes: ‘flat caps, filth and a general disregard for personal safety.’
Trevelyan College's rugby club have planned a "Thatcher vs Miners" themed social, due to take place on campus next week.
Screenshots of the Facebook event were posted on Twitter, with the "Backs vs Forwards" social sparking criticism, including from the families of former miners.
The event description reads: "Forwards, you are to come as the M-I-N-E-rs: we want flat caps, filth and a general disregard for personal safety.
"Think pickaxes. Think headlamps. Think 12 per cent unemployment in 1984. Bonus points for the challenge week coal."
The backs, on the other hand, are told to "elect one member to come as the "Iron Lady" herself, with the rest forming her government.
"We want variety too; so a few working-class-beating bobbys wouldn't go amiss. Nor would a few Falkland War heroes. You get the gist".
The sensitivity of the issue is rooted in the fact that Durham County was hit hard by the pit closures brought about by Thatcher's government, with tension culminating in a year-long miners' strike in 1984.
John Adams, the son of a local miner, told The Tab: "It's disgusting and deeply offensive to the mining community that they can just go on the drink and make a mockery of it," and adds that the "mining community will be deeply, deeply offended".
— Craig Dawson (@dawsoncraig) November 25, 2017
One local also said the event will not help the division often felt in Durham between students and the people who live there.
Terrible, grew up in Durham & always felt a ‘them and us’ mentality between the locals & students. This certainly doesn’t help the cause.
— Steven Jackson (@RehabSJJ) November 26, 2017
St Cuth's SCR have today said they will not allow the event to take place on their property.
Although @CuthsSociety sits in the heart of the @DurhamWHS we recognise our activities impact on the wider Co Durham communities; indeed we take pride in our community engagement initiatives. We would never allow an insensitive event of this type to take place on our property
— St Cuth's SCR (@CuthsSCR) November 26, 2017
Durham University posted a statement on their website, saying:
"Durham University and Trevelyan College utterly deplore this event which is wholly unacceptable.
"The event has been cancelled by the students concerned. We are speaking to those students and we are considering what further action to take in due course."