Durham University's Trevelyan College rugby team has faced criticism for organising a night out inviting students to dress as Margaret Thatcher and "working-class beat-bobbies" to represent the 1984 Miners' Strike.

Members of the team were told to bring "flat caps, filth and a general disregard for personal safety" to represent the miners in the battle with Thatcher's government. In a Facebook event, the team wrote: "Think pickaxes. Think headlamps. Think 12% unemployment in 1984."

According to The Mirror, the event was described as the "Forwards vs Backs" social. The other half of team was asked to represent Thatcher's government, "Falkland War heroes" or "working-class-beating-bobbies".

One student should be nominated to represent "the Iron Lady herself," the event suggested.

"We cannot understate the scale of this competition. Expect a confrontation bigger than the Battle of Orgreave," the event said, referring to the clashes between miners and police officers.

"The evening will see the unstoppable force of our backs pit across the immovable might of our forwards, and as always, it pays to be a winner."

The Mirror reported the event, set to take place Wednesday (29 November), has been cancelled. Durham University has described the event as "wholly unacceptable".

The event was also criticised by the Durham Miners' Association and GMB union member Craig Dawson.

"We were appalled to learn of a social event advertised by Trevelyan College rugby club which referred to miners in incredibly derogatory terms and sought to trivialise the police violence at Orgreave," the Durham Miners' Association said in a Facebook post.

The association called for a full and public apology from the rugby club and invited students to attend group events to learn "more about Country Durham's mining heritage".

Meanwhile, Dawson shared a screenshot of the event invitation on Twitter and asked the university if it condoned "this kind of insensitive behaviour," noting: "your uni sits as the heart of a former coal field..."

Owen Adams, Durham University's pro-vice-chancellor, said: "Durham University and Trevelyan College utterly deplore this event which is wholly unacceptable.

"The event has been cancelled by the students concerned. We are speaking to those students and we are considering what further action to take in due course."

The Palatinate, Durham's independent student newspaper, later reported that the rugby club had been suspended indefinitely.