PICTURES: Longest strike in history remembered as Jeremy Corbyn attends event in Burston
As many as 4,000 people are thought to have visited this year’s Burston Strike School rally to remember the longest strike in history.
Trade Unions, families and residents from far and wide gathered at Church Green for the annual event, remembering a socialist movement that lasted 25 years.
On April 1, 1914, pupils of the Burston School walked out in protest of the dismissals of Tom and Annie Higdon. Of the 72 children, 66 went on strike, which ran until 1939.
The attendance was boosted by the attendance of current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
A regular supporter of the rally, his increased media profile in the past year looks to have swelled numbers once again.
Union stands graced the green, musical entertainment was provided, and impassioned speeches given, while the masses also marched, led by two Suffolk Punches, around ‘the candlestick’ — which follows the route of the children’s original demonstration.
Shaun Jeffery, one of the organisers and secretary to the Burston Strike School Museum Trustees, said: “I can only describe the event as fantastic.
“A number of people were saying the march around ‘the candlestick’ was the biggest ever.
“Certainly everyone had a fantastic time. We had a lot of first timers to the event, and we have had a lot of positive feedback. As an organiser, that is what you want to hear.
“The rally is inspiring and incredibly positive.
People feel that heritage when they are standing there in front of the strike school. They hear the story and speakers, it is incredibly unifying
“People feel that heritage when they are standing there in front of the strike school. They hear the story and speakers, it is incredibly unifying.
“This is why these events are very important in the calendar. It’s a nice day out but at the same time it gets people’s creative energy going and positive outlook reaffirmed.”
Mr Jeffery said the event put the Labour leadership contest on hold, and said Mr Corbyn was “overwhelmingly welcomed” by people on the day.
“It is a friendly crowd to Jeremy Corbyn, partly because of the policies of Jeremy Corbyn — but it’s because he is not just going along because he is in an leadership contest,” he said. “He genuinely knows the story and history behind the Burston strike.
“He spoke not in an electioneering fashion, but he spoke about life in rural areas, rural education, and the impacts on life here.”
For more information, visit burstonstrikeschool.co.uk