John Gaventa remembers Terry Thomas

Remarks made at the celebration to honour miners’ union leader Terry Thomas’s life Gorseinon Workingmen’s Club, South Wales January 20, 2017 Thank you for the invitation to participate in this memorial for Terry today. I am deeply honoured to be included as part of this gathering. I first met Terry in 1974, when as a young American student at Oxford University, I came to the Welsh valleys to make recordings with Welsh miners to share in turn with miners in the Appalachian coalfields in America, using the then fairly new media of videotape. In both places this period was an important time: in Kentucky miners were engaged in the now famous Harlan County, USA strike – later the subject of an award winning film – and here of course, there was the 1974 miners’ strike, to which earlier speakers have referred. That initial exchange, facilitated by Hywel Francis and the […]

Remembering Terry Thomas

by Patricia Beaver and Tom Hansell. This Friday, January 20, a ceremony will be held at the Gorseinon Workingmen’s Club near Swansea to honor the life of miner and labor organizer Terry Thomas, who died this fall at the age of 78. Terry was an important voice in the After Coal documentary. Terry went into the coal mines in his native Wales in 1960, working underground, and became involved in the National Union of Mineworkers, as local branch secretary. Terry went on to serve as Vice President of the South Wales NUM between 1983 and 1989, coordinating strikes and difficult negotiations throughout the 1984-85 strike year. He then served as a chairman of the Wales Executive Committee of the Labour Party. In After Coal we first see Terry in 1974, interviewed by John Gaventa, in the successful strike which brought in the Labour Government. Terry is also on screen responding […]