Screen star Imelda Staunton to immortalise miners' supporter, Hefina Headon, in film about strike
STAR of the stage and screen Imelda Staunton will immortalise a miners’ campaigner, described as the heart of the valley, in a film set in the 1980s.
And friends of Hefina Headon — who was laid to rest at her funeral yesterday — say the British acting stalwart will do her justice.
Sian James, MP, paid tribute to Hefina, who was instrumental in setting up a support group in the Dulais Valley during the 1984-85 strike. She died last week.
Now it's been revealed her story will be told in a film about the group’s relationship with lesbian and gay campaigners who helped fundraise for them during the strike.
She will be played by Staunton, who has starred in the Harry Potter films as Dolores Umbridge and Vera Drake.
Hefina will be one of a number of characters from the area portrayed in the film, which is set over the summer of 1984, during the most controversial period of the Margaret Thatcher era.
A group of activists decide to identify a mining village in deepest Wales and set off in a minibus to make their donation. The two communities form a surprising and triumphant partnership — and friendships develop that last to this day.
Mrs James was also part of the Welsh group, which supported families in the Neath, Dulais and Swansea Valleys, and described Hefina as one of her best friends.
Mrs James said: "One memory I have of Hefina, is standing outside Crynant Miners’ Welfare, where we were voting against the miner’s going back to work.
"We’d been going for nearly a year, we’d come over the wall, and we were all shouting outside. She was there in a hat, coat and stiletto heels with a hand bag.
"I said to the producers, if Imelda Staunton is wearing trainers in this film, nobody will believe it’s Hefina - she never had a pair of trainers. But I think she will do her justice.
"I remember her marching through London in those heels."
Mrs James said the communities in the valleys were built on the back of women like Hefina, adding: "If anybody had a problem you needed solved, it was women like her who solved them.
"She was a marvellous woman, a great friend and had a wonderful sense of humour."