Jarrow marchers to stage rally in Hatfield
PUBLISHED: 13:45 15 October 2011
PROTESTERS marking the 75th anniversary of the Jarrow Crusade with a similar 330-mile procession are set to stop off at Hatfield.
The marchers, en route to London to highlight youth unemployment, set off from Jarrow in South Tyneside on October 1 and are expected in Hatfield on November 1.
Campaign group Youth Fight for Jobs, which is affiliated to the Socialist Party and backed by trade unions, wants action to help the near one million 16 to 24-year-olds out of work.
In 1936, 200 unemployed men marched on the Government, with a 12,000-name petition calling for help from then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.
Youth Fight for Jobs Hertfordshire organiser Mark Wright told the WHT: “I think it’s been brilliant so far and I think it’s been really quite emotional for the marchers.
“Local residents have been on the streets to help them and make donations.”
Mr Wright said he hoped the march would “raise awareness” of the plight of the one million unemployed youngsters.
The march is set to reach Hatfield at around 4pm and the rally will be held at the Lord William Cecil Memorial Hall, French Horn Lane, from 7pm.
The original marchers were snubbed by the Government when they arrived in London.
Their petition was handed in at Downing Street by the then MP for Jarrow, Ellen Wilkinson.
Welwyn Hatfield Council’s Labour leader Kieran Thorpe backed the campaign.
He said: “I fully support the aims of those recreating this historic event, and have nothing but respect for those taking part. Their cause is as important now as it was then, and I hope Hatfield gives them a warm welcome on what could be a very cold day.”
“I would hope that the Prime Minister will not repeat the disgraceful behaviour of Stanley Baldwin in refusing to recognise the Jarrow Marchers when they have completed their long journey.”
The last surviving Jarrow marcher, 93-year-old Cornelius Whalen, died in September 2003, but his searing verdict on the original crusade left little hope for 2011’s crop.
He said: “It was a waste of time, but I enjoyed every step.
“It had no effect on unemployment.”
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