A new play telling the story of the Shrewsbury Pickets comes to the stage in Ellesmere Port on Saturday, March 28 for one night only.
This is near the end of Townsend Productions national tour of United We Stand which began in Liverpool last September.
And the production is all the more poignant because it tells the story of local folk-hero Des Warren. Des was born in Chester but lived for a time in Malpas Road, Ellesmere Port.
In 1972 Des and the now famous TV actor Ricky Tomlinson were trade union activists in the first national building workers strike.
They led the effort to spread the strike, travelling from Chester to Shrewsbury and Telford to try to persuade workers to join the national action.
These events were to lead to charges of conspiracy to intimidate against the Shrewsbury 24 Pickets which resulted in a controversial trial. Des Warren was sentenced to three years in prison, and Ricky Tomlinson two years.
The convictions are currently under review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission following a high profile campaign – led by Ricky Tomlinson, and researcher Eileen Turnbull – to get them overturned.
In 2003 he and Ricky were given the Robert Tressell Award (named after the writer of The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists) by the Construction Industry Safety Campaign.
But the following year Des died at the age of 66 from causes linked to his Parkinson’s Disease.
This small-cast play by Neil Gore tells the story of these events, with humour and music. It is brought to Ellesmere Port by the West Cheshire TUC.
The venue for the production is the Chatfield Theatre, which is located within the University Church of England Academy (UCEA) in Whitby Road, Ellesmere Port. The performance begins at 7.30 pm but there will be refreshments and stalls to browse from 7pm.
A number of the Shrewsbury Pickets will be attending the production and will speak and answer questions at the end.
Tickets are £10 (£5 concessions) available from www.eventbrite.co.uk , by e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0151 339 2907.