Durham Miners Gala welcomes rescued Chilean

A wave to the balcony of the County Hotel as the new replica Washington Glebe Lodge banner is paraded at the Big Meeting. It is the first time the Glebe banner has been at the Gala since the centenary year in 1983.
A wave to the balcony of the County Hotel as the new replica Washington Glebe Lodge banner is paraded at the Big Meeting. It is the first time the Glebe banner has been at the Gala since the centenary year in 1983.
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THE new Washington Glebe Lodge banner was paraded before civic dignitaries at this year’s Big Meeting.

Thousands packed into Durham for the annual Miner’s Gala on Saturday.

Special guests at the event included one of the rescued Chilean miners.

Carlos Bugueno smiled and cheered from the County Hotel balcony as he watched the parade.

Originally two of the 33 miners who were trapped underground for more than two months last year were expected to attend, but Carlos Barrios Contreras could not make it because his passport had expired.

Grandmother-of-six Shirley Smyth, 66, of Chester-le-Street, said: “It’s incredible to think what they went through during those months being stuck underground.

“I watched them when they were being pulled out. I think those images will stay with me for a long time.”

Gala organiser Dave Hopper, Durham Miners’ Association general secretary, said: “We welcome Carlos to Durham and it’s a big coup for us to have him here.”

Full report and more great photos in today’s Sunderland Echo.