Mining community’s banner returns 30 years on

0
Have your say

HISTORY came alive at a Wearside village to celebrate its mining heritage.

West Rainton came to a standstill as its new community banner was paraded through the streets.

MINING HERITAGE: West Rainton Primary School pupils Cydney Murray, nine, Will Kitson, six, Amy Burns, nine, Tom Kitson, nine, Shannon Summers, nine, and Stephen Major, seven, alongside the new banner, which was paraded through the village.

MINING HERITAGE: West Rainton Primary School pupils Cydney Murray, nine, Will Kitson, six, Amy Burns, nine, Tom Kitson, nine, Shannon Summers, nine, and Stephen Major, seven, alongside the new banner, which was paraded through the village.

Two years in the making, the banner means that West Rainton and Leamside can now be represented at Durham Miners’ Gala for the first time in more than 30 years with its own standard.

Bearpark and Esh Colliery band led the procession of the banner which has one side designed by pupils from West Rainton Primary School, and the other, which features the long-gone Adventure Colliery, by local artist Gillian Coates.

The banner, which was dedicated at St Mary’s Church in the village, will take pride of place in the school before taking part in next month’s Gala and being blessed at Durham Cathedral.

Headteacher Alison McDonough, who started the project to design the banner, said: “West Rainton has had three banners over the years, but they went back to South Hetton which owned them.

“The original Adventure Colliery banner, we think, was sold in the 1950s. Nobody knows the true whereabouts of it now.”

She added: “The project to create the banner has been a great way of teaching the children to understand why we are here. This village only exists because of the coal seam.

“Many still have grandparents who worked in the mine and before the mine goes out of living memory, we wanted to revive it.”

As part of the project, which was funded by Heritage Lottery Funding, county councillors, Durham Freemen and Durham Area Action Partnership, former miners came into the school to talk to children about their profession.

On the day of the Gala, the school will be putting on free transport to Durham so that as many people from the community as possible can see the banner being paraded.

Alison added: “The mine may be gone, but community spirit is the one thing that’s survived.”

Speaking about her design, Gillian said: “I wanted something that reflected the history of the village so the picture shows older miners looking down on Adventure Pit.”

Once Gillian and schoolchildren had created their designs, they were painted onto the banner by Bearpark cooperative artists.