It was supposed to be a perk of the job for retired miners - to get free coal for life. But that was scrapped a few months back when UK Coal went into administration.
Now with temperatures dropping, hundreds of miners and retired pitmen are facing the prospect of having to find hundreds of pounds extra to heat their homes. They're stepping up the fight to reinstate the allowance as Mel Barham reports:
Members of the Durham Miners association have met to discuss how they will mark the day of Baroness Thatcher's funeral, which is set to take place next Wednesday.
Members from across County Durham said they would honour a promise they made in the 1980s - when the association was formed - to celebrate the death of the former Prime Minister, but denied accusations that the plans are in bad taste.
David Hopper, from Durham Miners' Association, told ITV News that they had received a lot of support for their plans.
A miners' banner representing the Dudley branch of the National Union of Miners has gone on display at the Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland.
More than three decades after the colliery in South East Northumberland closed, the silk banner has been restored after being found in the canteen of a local company.