ESTHER Davies is the great-granddaughter of a politician who was known as The Miners’ MP — Alexander Sloan.

Called Sanny by everyone who knew him, he died on November 16, 1945, when Esther was three.

She said: “His funeral was the first-time double-decker buses came to Rankinston, the village where I was born.

“He was known as the stormy petrel of Ayrshire politics, long before he became The Miners’ MP, because he fought so hard for people as a union man, county councillor, politician and a fellow human being.”

On one occasion he was arrested and locked up in prison after a lockout at a colliery.

His influence inspired Esther to find out about Sanny’s life and has evolved into collecting family histories, particularly in connection to World War I.

“As 25 per cent of Scottish miners volunteered in World War I, there must be many of their stories to find.

“My aim is to try and interest people in their own family and First World War’s centenary seemed a good place to start,” Esther said.

Hours of research have taken Esther to the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, archive records in Edinburgh, Barlinnie Prison — and Auchinleck.

During the course of her investigations she was made aware of a banner which had been discovered in Auchinleck, which belonged to the local branch of the National Union of Mineworkers in the 1940s.

Esther said: “It was designed and painted by Richard Strain, a pithead worker at the Barony who had a flair for sign writing. He used canvas cloth bought from Catrine Mill.

“It features my great grandfather and was discovered in the early 1980s when Auchinleck Town Hall was being demolished.

“It was then kept by John Guthrie in his garden shed and later passed on to myself because of the family connection.

“The design and image of Sanny has been hand-painted, the design probably in oils with the portrait finely painted in black and white and surrounded by a wreath of coal.”