Shadow chancellor John McDonnell confirmed as guest speaker at Burston Strike School Rally
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell will be among the guests when the longest-running strike in history is commemorated in Burston in September.
The Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington was due to be a guest at last year’s event, which attracted an estimated 3,000 visitors, but was eventually replaced by the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn.
The annual rally remembers the sacking in 1914 of teachers Tom and Kitty Higdon because of their association with the Agricultural Workers’ Union which brought them into conflict with the Church of England and the local squirearchy.
The children walked out in support and instead were educated at a strike school, firstly at a blacksmith’s workshop and then at the school built by Labour Movement subscription.
This year’s rally will take place on Sunday, September 3 on Crown Green, running from 10.45am to 4pm.
Musical entertainment on the day will be provided by The Red Flags, The RMT Brass Band,The John Ward Band and Dave Thomas Blues Band, while guest speakers will include Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, Megan Dobney, TUC regional secretary, and John Hendy QC.
John McDonnell has quite a history with the rally. If I remember correctly he first spoke there about 20 years ago, so he is not new to it. We are very much looking forward to having him there
There will also be a march around the ‘candlestick’ – following the route of the children’s original demonstration more than 100 years ago – which runs from 12pm to 1pm.
Shaun Jeffery, secretary of the Burston Strike School Trustees, told the Diss Express: “John McDonnell has quite a history with the rally. If I remember correctly he first spoke there about 20 years ago, so he is not new to it. We are very much looking forward to having him there.
“In terms of atmosphere the day is always family-friendly, and it’s about bringing people together.
“There are some new, and some old, joining together to reminding ourselves of that history, but also to link it to the current situations we face.
“There are many parallels between the history and where we find ourselves today.”
For more information visit www.burstonstrikeschool.co.uk