For the second consecutive year not only do Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott have a top five album, the pair have also agreed to another HOPE for Christmas gig.
HOPE for Christmas is not just a concert close to Christmas, but a way of saying thank you to a number of people and organisations that inspire us all by their commitment to create change and to fight injustice.
Some of the organisations that will benefit from the concert do have charity status, others are organisations or groups who have stood together in the face of adversity.
This year in particular we are pleased to support the ‘Hatfield Brigade’, former coal miners from the Hatfield Main Colliery in South Yorkshire who are campaigning to preserve the mine’s headgear in the face of a campaign to tear down their history, their community and pride. These are not men and women who intend to go quietly into the annuals of history because it suits a government intent on destroying the organised working class.
Earlier this year Paul joined former Miners, their friends and their families on the ‘Long March Back’, a commemoration of the return to work by coalminers after their year long strike against Margaret Thatcher’s criminal destruction of Britain’s coal industry and the men and women who served it.
The connection between Paul and Hatfield Main Colliery goes back to the days of the Miners Strike and The Housemartins when Paul’s politics were shaped by standing with the men and women on the picket line at the colliery.
Speaking at a packed Miners Welfare Club after the ‘Long March Back’, Paul thanked the men and women for shaping and inspiring him. Some thirty years before he had recorded ‘Coal Train to Hatfield Main’ in homage to those times while with The Housemartins. The rueful instrumental appeared as a B-side on the 12 inch version of the single ‘Flag Day’.
This year we are producing a T-shirt linking the very real Hatfield with Paul’s current song ‘Heatongrad’. All monies from the sales of the T-shirt will go to the Hatfield Brigade and their campaign to preserve the history of the Doncaster coalfields. Mick Lanaghan from the Hatfield Main Community Heritage Association, speaking on behalf of the ‘Hatfield Brigade’ said:
“Over the years Paul has been a steadfast supporter of the miners in particular the Hatfield Main Colliery miners. His support during the year long strike and the connection he made then has remained a connection that we and the communities of Hatfield Main are immensely proud of.
“We (the Hatfield Brigade) and members of our heritage association are looking forward to attending the Hope for Christmas event on the 12th December to in some small way return our heartfelt thanks and support to Paul and Jacqui.”
Your donations of non-perishable foodstuffs and other goods will go to two foodbanks, one based in Bury and one based in Oldham. Both serve the wider Greater Manchester area. We are also pleased to announce that Suma Foods have once more donated food stuffs to help with the tally.
Last year we managed to collect over 4,000 items to for two Manchester foodbanks.
We are also proud to be supporting Article 26. The organisation helps Asylum Seekers who are unable to work or claim benefits gain access to Higher Education. Even though access to education is fundamental and basic human right, student tuition fees are substantially more expensive for Asylum Seekers who are treated as overseas students. Article 26 works with Universities to ensure that this basic human right is provided.
The sales of the limited edition ‘Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott’ badges made by GMB will this year go to CALM, a mental health charity dealing with men’s mental health. It may surprise people to know that suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.
We are also supporting antiracist education initiatives.
Special thanks to the GMB for the support for the evening and the wider initiative.