Former UDM leader and miners strike figure Neil Greatrex has died

Neil Greatrex.
Neil Greatrex.

The former leader of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers following the 1984-85 miners' strike has died aged 68.

Neil Greatrex, who was born in Kirkby and attended Ashfield School, was a miner at Bentinck colliery during the year-long miners’ strike against pit closures.

He opposed the strike and encouraged the Nottinghamshire miners to work throughout the dispute, notoriously convincing the miners that their pits would not be affected by closures.

After the strike ended in 1985, he formed the Union of Democratic Mineworkers in a breakaway from the National Union of Mineworkers, and at its peak the union had 25,000 members.

But in 2004 it was revealed that senior officers at the union were receiving pay and benefits of more than £150,000.

In 2011 he appeared in court accused of stealing almost £150,000 from a Lincolnshire nursing home established to help sick and injured mineworkers, of which Mr Greatrex was a trustee.

In December 2012 he was found guilty, jailed for four years and ordered to repay £200,000 to the fund.

In the wake of the revelations in May 2019, the Nottingham Miners Welfare Trust Scheme received more than £1million after a probe into the Nottinghamshire Miners Home charity found severe cases of fraud.

During his fraud trial, Mr Greatrex was supported by Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner Paddy Tipping, who gave a character reference to the crown court.

Following news of his death, Mr Tipping said: “I worked closely with Neil on mining issues over a very long time. He was always very vociferous and controversial and I am sure there will be continued debate about his achievements and his legacy.”

Mr Greatrex, who recently suffered a brain haemorrhage, died on July 9 after his life support machine was switched off.