The OTJC are extremely saddened to learn that Rick Sumner has died.
After the end of the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike, Rick and his lifelong comrade and partner, Christine, worked to support more than a thousand striking miners victimised by the National Coal Board. They established the National Justice For Mineworkers’ Campaign to sustain the sacked miners and their families and ran a constant campaign for their reinstatement and restoration of their pension and other rights. They also co-sponsored the annual memorial to commemorate David Jones and Joe Green who were killed during the strike.
Rick was a miner at Shuttle Eye Colliery in West Yorkshire. He had also worked as a trawlerman in the North Atlantic, a scaffolder and steel erector in Manchester and a community and grass roots advice worker in Manchester’s Moss Side. Throughout his life Rick was a principled trade unionist and dedicated fighter for socialism.
Rick and Chris along with other volunteer comrades raised thousands of pounds selling mining memorabilia at many labour movement events and fundraising for much needed funds for families in desperate need. Their unrelenting commitment was admired and respected by the NUM and throughout the Labour and Trade Union movement. Rick and Chris also devoted their lives to fighting and opposing racism and fascism, organising opposition to racist landlords. Rick never flinched from direct confrontation with fascists and inspired younger comrades to take up the fight.
Rick and Chris retired to live on the Yorkshire coast and devoted time to work hard to support the local lifeboat service. Christine Sumner sadly died in 2019.
Rick will be sorely missed by many throughout our movement and we send deepest condolences and solidarity to Rick’s family.
Rest in Power Rick.
Photo taken at the 2015 Durham Miners’ Gala
(Rick is second from the right on the photo. Christine is in the middle of the photo)