BIG Meeting bosses are flying the flag for future celebrations as they try to secure the event’s long-term finances.
Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) has said it has the cash to back next year’s event, but must ensure the funds are in place to cover the costs from then on.
In addition to seeking the help from the Friends of the Durham Miners’ Gala, where supporters sign up to pay regular subscriptions, DMA members will turn to the largest of the trade unions for their backing.
The Big Meeting will be held in Durham for the 130th time today and feature speeches by Labour MP Dennis Skinner and the leaders of unions including the GMB, Prison Officers’ Association, the NUT and rail workers’ group ASLEF.
It costs about £100,000 to put on.
In addition to the day itself, a series of other events are held in the run-up to the parade and in its aftermath.
Dave Hopper, the organisation’s general secretary, said: “It’s getting bigger every year and it’s a success. We have to pay £30,000 for the bands alone, then we have speakers and films, a play on, activities on the field, hospitality and refreshments, the stage and PA system to set up and it all costs.” He added the gala had also become an international event, with union and workers’ representatives travelling from the Ukraine, Germany and Ireland this year.