A FORMER MP who was one of the real life leaders of the miner’s support group portrayed in Pride is to speak about the film. 

Siân James was the Labour MP for Swansea East from 2005 to 2015 but as the wife of a striking miner during the 1984 to 1985 miners’ strike helped organise support in the Dulais, Neath and Upper Swansea valleys. 

This Monday, May 23 Siân will be speaking in Caernarfon about the miners’ strike and the support received from Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) - which was the story retold in the film Pride. 

By the end of the strike the London branch alone had raised £22,500, which wouold be worth £70,000 at  2020 prices, in support of communities desimated by Margaret Thatcher’s deindustrialisation programme. 

How the group was formed – and friendships and bonds of solidarity formed with the striking miners and their families in the Dulais Valley was dramatised in the 2014 film Pride, a historical comedy drama written by Stephen Beresford. 

It stared Imelda Staunton, Dominic West from HBO’s The Wire, and Ben Schnetzer as Mark Ashton the young activist who co-founded the LGSM group while Jessica Gunning played the part of Siân James. 

Ashton, who died aged just 26 in 1987 having been diagnosed with Aids, would have celebrated his 62 birthday this past week. 

READ MORE: Miners strike movie Pride to kick off long-running Dorset film festival

Osian Owen, who is organising the event on behalf of Llety Arall, a community enterprise in  Caernarfon, said the discussion event will allow people to from Siân about a recent period of Welsh and British history that was marked by unrest. 

She will be joined in conversation by Iestyn Wyn who is campaigns, policy and rersearch manager for LGTQ advocacy group Stonewall Cymru. 

Osian said: “Siân helped feed over 1,000 families a week, and she will be lifting the curtain on the tumultous history, and the sociohistorical context of the film. 

“The event comes at an especially poignant moment. May 19th would have been Mark Ashton's 62nd birthday. Mark was co-founder of the LGSM group. He sadly died 12 days after being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.   

“He was a key figure in this chapter of Britain’s history.  

“Also, on May 17, we marked International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. At times it’s hard not to feel as if society is moving backwards in attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community. 

“Recent research by Stonewall found that one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime because of their sexual orientation in the past year and over half of trans people have been subjected to a hate crime due to their gender identity.  

“We hope this event will be a positive celebration of our diversity, and an opportunity to celebrate this very distinctive chapter in Wales’ LGBT history.” 

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The event is being held in Llety Arall’s community events room, Lle Arall, at 10 Stryd y Plas, Caernarfon at 7.30pm.  

The event will also be livestreamed and those who wish to receive a link can contact Llety Arall on 01286 662907.  

No registration is needed for those attending in person, and payment is on a “what you can afford/if you can afford” basis, a decision that was made in the face of the cost of living crisis, according to organisers. 

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