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Hard Graft brings donation to Sandwell mayor's charities

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 22, 2014

By Dan Shaw

Mayor Councillor Linda Horton, Councillor Liam Preece, director Kerry Halford, Mayor's consort Councillor Roger Horton and playwright Brendan Hawthorne

Mayor Councillor Linda Horton, Councillor Liam Preece, director Kerry Halford, Mayor's consort Councillor Roger Horton and playwright Brendan Hawthorne

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MONEY raised from a theatre production was music to the ears for the Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Linda Horton, after it boosted two charities by £1,000.

All ticket sales from the first performance of the show Hard Graft – All for Twenty Three Bob, have been donated to the mayoral charities, A Better Understanding of Dementia for Sandwell (BUDS) and Birmingham Midland Eye Centre.

Hard Graft, a musical play, commemorates the centenary of the Wednesbury tube workers strike in 1913. Written by Black Country poet and playwright Brendan Hawthorne and directed by Kerry Halford, it was premiered at Wednesbury Town Hall in December (see Bugle 1111, December 12, 2013 for our story on the first night).

The play shed light on a forgotten story in Black Country history, with the plot following a fictional family through the two-and-a-half-month-long strike.

The tube workers strike of 1913 involved employees of the Old Patent Tube Works in Wednesbury, who went on strike to demand an increase in wages.

Brendan Hawthorne said the reason for writing and performing the play was to tell the story of the 200 people who worked long hours in appalling conditions only to find themselves facing starvation.

He said, "As a reaction to this they withdrew their labour and lost their income to make their point and gain a recognised living wage."

Workers involved in the strike grew to 25,000 across the Black Country.

The play also marks 100 years since the mayor's charity supported the workers and helped to put food on their table during this difficult time.

Mayor of Sandwell Councillor Linda Horton said: "It was a unique way to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tube workers strike and I am very grateful to all those involved who decided to support my two charities with such a generous donation."

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