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Thousands Of Miners Marched In Solidarity After Britain's Last Deep Coal Pit Closed

The closure of Kellingley Colliery marks an historical moment for British mining.

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Thousands attended a "solidarity march" in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, on Saturday after the last of the UK's deep coal pits, Kellingley Colliery, closed on Friday.

"I'm upset, really, that it's come to this and there's nothing we could have done to keep the mining industry in this country," Cheney told the Press Association.

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Yvette Cooper, Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford and former home secretary, was joined on the march by Anne Scargill, the wife of former National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leader Arthur Scargill.

"It was great to have so many people here for the march. It just shows the strong support from the whole community," Cooper said.

"The pit has been part of this town but also part of our industrial heritage for such a long time and I think everybody wanted to show their solidarity with the last of the UK miners," Cooper added.

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There were once more than a million miners employed in Britain, with 2,500 in the Kellingley area alone in the industry's heyday, according to the Yorkshire Post.

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

The industry saw a steady decline from the end of the Second World War as more investment was made in gas and nuclear power, leading to the eventual collapse of the coal industry by the 1990s.

Banners that read, "save fuel, burn a Tory scab", and "UDM [Union of Democratic Mineworkers] scabbing bastards" were set alight by two marchers.

The Union of Democratic Mineworkers was a union created by miners who continued working during the miners' strike of 1984-1985.

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450 miners at the pit will receive a redundancy package of 12 weeks at average pay.

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Workers felt like they had been "thrown on the industrial scrapheap" ex-miner Keith Poulson, 55, told the BBC. "Since it was announced, I feel like somebody's stuck a pin in me and I'm eventually deflating. I feel completely let down."

As the march drew to a close, miners could be seen wiping tears from their eyes, according to local reporters.

Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Laura Silver at laura.silver@buzzfeed.com.

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