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Music and celebration marked longest strike in history

PUBLISHED: 22:58 06 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:57 06 July 2010

Burston Strike Rally 2009 on the village green near the old strike school and then parade through the village.
Photo: Angela Sharpe

Burston Strike Rally 2009 on the village green near the old strike school and then parade through the village. Photo: Angela Sharpe

A south Norfolk village came alive this weekend as thousands of revellers flocked to mark the longest strike in history.

A south Norfolk village came alive this weekend as thousands of revellers flocked to mark the longest strike in history.

Trade unionists, political figures, musicians and dancers gathered for the annual school strike rally, which marks the 25-year-long industrial action at Burston, near Diss, and the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution.

Although Labour activist Tony Benn was forced to cancel the engagement due to sickness, MEP Richard Howitt and Luis Marron, political counsellor for the Cuban embassy, appeared as keynote speakers. A parade was also led by the Paseo Malanga Carnival Band.

Organiser Mike Copperweat said up to 2,000 people arrived for the event at Church Green on Sunday. He added: "It's very important to remember there are still people who are struggling and, in these times, workers that are being squeezed. It's quite an amazing atmosphere to have a very old Labour and very left- wing event in a very rural area, but we have no complaints from people living nearby."

The Burston Strike School Rally commemorates the industrial action that took place in April 1914 when children boycotted the village school in support of teachers Kitty and Tom Higdon who were sacked for their socialist and trade union views.

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