It is with great sadness we learnt of the death of Davey Hopper, general secretary of the Durham Miners Association and NUM union, last Saturday.
Davey was one the finest trade union and socialist activists of his generation and his passing is a huge loss to the workers’ movement.
Steeled in struggle he and his “marra” Davy Guy became the leaders of Durham NUM on the back of their role in the 1984-5 strike.
He spent his entire life defending the miners and their communities.
Davey was more than just a trade union leader, he was a committed socialist and anti-fascist. Nor was he afraid to stand up to the right within the unions or the Labour Party.
He stood by victimised union rep Yunus Bakhsh despite enormous pressure.
Recently he did the same for the Durham Teaching Assistants, giving them the use of the Miners’ Hall at Redhills.
He was a fantastic supporter of the film Still the Enemy Within.
Davey spoke brilliantly at a recent Unite the Resistance meeting in support of the junior doctors.
A man of sharp wit, when Margaret Thatcher died he said, “Divent worry comrades there is ganna be an awful lot of coal to shovel where that bastard is ganning tee.”
He played an active role in supporting Jeremy Corbyn to become Labour leader.
But perhaps his greatest achievement was in turning the Durham Miners’ Gala into the biggest annual working class event in Europe.
Only last week he chaired the meeting at which over 200,000 attended.
The Gala is his legacy, and will serve to inspire generations to come to fight for the kind of world Davey would have been proud of.
We send our deepest condolences to his partner Maritza and sons Gary and Jason.