A FORMER miner from the Gwent valleys has recalled his memories of the 1984 miners' strike as the 40th anniversary approaches. 

Ron Stoate, who now lives in Cefn Fforest and is chair of trustees for the Cefn Fforest Miners' Institute, was a miner in the Penallta colliery when the strike broke out. 

Mr Stoate, who says his memories of the strike and the outcome have left him "bitter and twisted" as a result decades later. 

He said: "I spent 11 years in the Rhymney valley colliery at Penallta, and before that 14 years in Britannia colliery in Pengam. 

"My brothers and I were unable to work a full fortnight due to ongoing safety inspections and the timing bans that meant they couldn't be done on weekends - we were losing a shift a fortnight for almost a year before the strike."

Mr Stoate explained how he had been involved in previous strikes, and although he realised it would be a "tough fight" he didn't expect it to last a year. 

He said: "All we wanted to do was go to work. We weren't asking for anything to change. For a lot of us, myself included, this wasn't just a job. It was my life."

Along with his fellow miners, Mr Stoate was heavily involved in anything to do with the mining industry and the strike, and was part of the group taken to Orgreave in South Yorkshire, where he was among more than 100 miners arrested. 

South Wales Argus: Ron Stoate was among the dozens of miners taken to Orgreave in South YorkshireRon Stoate was among the dozens of miners taken to Orgreave in South Yorkshire (Image: PA Wire)He said: "I was arrested four times in that year, just for fighting for my job. The way we were treated by the institutions - such as the police and the government - was disgusting."

Mr Stoate remembered the devastation he felt upon learning of the outcome of the strike, and how it has left him unable to trust or respect any institutions since. 

He added: "To lose the way we did was absolutely devastating, and to hear the Prime Minister say she was glad the strike was over for the benefit of us miners - it was a lie. 

"Many of us had families to look after, and after the collieries closed, most of us found it really hard to find a job. I bounced from job to job for ten years, none of them very good or well paid, and I know men who never worked again because of the strike."

Mr Stoate believes the way the strike was ended was "brutal" and has left him angry. 

He said: "Mining was everything to me, and to have it all snatched away from me like that wasn't pleasant at all. 

"I'm still very bitter about it as the years pass, and I always will be."