Video and photo gallery: Thousands attend rally to mark the 100th anniversary of Burston Strike School

The Burston Strike School Centenary Rally.

The Burston Strike School Centenary Rally. - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

A small village was awash with union banners at the weekend as more than 1,000 people descended to mark the 100th anniversary of the strike by children at Burston Strike School.

The green in front of the school, which was the centre of the longest running strike in British history, was packed with stalls from unions including Unite, the RMT and NUT, while union representatives gave speeches on a specially-prepared stage.

Overhead on Sunday, a plane circled the green towing a banner that read 'No Condem cuts, no Labour cuts.'

Speakers included Geoff Revell, from the RMT and columnist and author Owen Jones, who has appeared on a number of TV programmes, including Question Time and Sky News.

Mr Jones said: 'It is great to see so many people out here today and of course, what we are doing is commemorating an absolutely inspiring episode in our history and to think back at that struggle and the courage and determination they showed in Burston Strike School.


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'And to think, going back to 1914, that a century later people would be gathering in force to remember everything they fought for. That is a powerful testimony to everything they fought for.

'We pay tribute to their courage, but we also do it because we learn from their example.'

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Mike Ward, a trustee of the school, which is now a museum, said there had been a record turnout at the rally, which is held annually and raises money for the museum.

'This is the most we have ever had. We have just spent a lot of money on the school and we want to put it in the best condition that we can,' he added.

The NASUWT brass band also performed, along with children from the Theatre Train children's musical theatre and the socialist R&B band Thee Faction.

The strike started after local teachers Annie and Tom Higdon were sacked following a dispute with the area's school management committee after they refused to let children leave school to help with the harvest.

Children went on strike in support of their teachers and the couple started a school on the village green, which was attended by 66 of their 72 former pupils.

A new school, financed by donations, was built in 1917 and The Burston Strike School continued until shortly after Tom's death in 1939.

What can we learn from the actions of the Burston children? Email dominic.bareham@archant.co.uk.

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