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  1. ITV Report

Durham University rugby event with miners theme cancelled amid "deep concerns"

The so-called Battle at Orgreave became one of the most infamous showdowns between pickets and police during the miners' strike. Photo: PA

A social event set up by a Durham University rugby team, that was due to depict the battle between miners and Margaret Thatcher's government, has been cancelled amid "deep concerns".

Members of the Trevelyan college rugby team were asked to come with "flat caps, filth and a general disregard for personal safety" in order to represent the miners.

On the Facebook event, students were also told to "think pickaxes. Think headlamps. Think 12% unemployment in 1984" in order to prepare for the evening. Guests were told to “expect a confrontation bigger than the Battle of Orgreave”.

Labelled as the "Forwards vs Backs" social, the other half of the squad were asked to come as Margaret Thatcher's government, so that the tensions of the miners' strike could be recreated.

Players were asked to turn up as "working-class-beating-bobbies" or "Falkland War heroes", with one student due to turn up as "the Iron Lady herself".

However, complaints from the Durham Miners' Association led to the cancellation of the event that was due to take place on Wednesday, and has left the university considering what further action to take.

A short statement provided on the Durham Miners' Association Facebook page read: "We will be writing to the college and the university to voice our deep concerns."

Owen Adams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Durham University, said: "Durham University and Trevelyan College utterly deplore this event which is wholly unacceptable.

"The event has been cancelled by the students concerned. We are speaking to those students and we are considering what further action to take in due course.

"We know that most students are active and positive residents of their communities."

Mr Adams continued: "Regrettably, there are occasions where student behaviour falls short of the standards we expect.<

"We have a very active education programme that explains our code of conduct for those living in the local community and aims to enhance students' sense of belonging.

"This code of conduct highlights that the University reserves the right to take appropriate action against those who fall short of these standards."

The Trevelyan College Rugby Club has since been suspended indefinitely after the controversy caused by the social.

A statement from the Rugby Club's Exec to its members reportedly states that the club will not be able to participate in matches or socials for the foreseeable future.