Free Colliers take to the Braes streets for Pinkie March

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The sun shone on the Braes as the Free Colliers took part in their annual ‘Pinkie March’ through the streets of the former colliery villages.

Many of the Free Colliers who took part were following in the footsteps of their forefathers before them, all marching to maintain their support for workers’ rights.

Meanwhile, those who stood waving and cheering from the sidewalk were following in a family tradition of marking what was an important day for the coal miners.

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Set up in 1863, the Sir William Wallace Grand Lodge of Scotland Free Colliers inspired 65 other lodges of colliers across the Scottish coalfields to be formed, all united in promoting the rights of the working man.

However, in 2019 only the Redding colliers remain in existence.

Every year on the first Saturday in August they march through the villages of Reddingmuirhead, Redding, Laurieston, Westquarter, Brightons and Wallacestone.

The march also commemorates the 40 miners who perished in the Redding Pit Disaster of September 1923 and the Free Colliers lay a wreath at the village memorial stone.

Those taking part wore tail coats and top hats and link pinkies to symbolise their unity in a defiant gesture of free will for workers – hence the name ‘Pinkie March’.