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Big news on the Durham Miners Gala - here's how you can take part in this year's event online

One of the biggest events in the North East social calendar will be held online this year – but the Durham Miners Gala should be back for its 150th anniversary in 2021.

Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 6:44 pm

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Crowds pass under the balcony of the County Hotel and along Old Elvet at the 2019 Durham Miners' Gala.
Crowds pass under the balcony of the County Hotel and along Old Elvet at the 2019 Durham Miners' Gala.

That’s the news from the organisers of the 136th Gala which was due to take place in Durham on Saturday, July 11, but was cancelled in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The day will now be marked online with a series of new content celebrating the spirit and values of the event.

The centrepiece of the day will be a live online event which will be streamed to Facebook and YouTube.

Gala crowds heading home from the racecourse in the 1950s.

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It will feature new videos including archive footage from the Gala’s long history.

The day is titled ‘The Second Saturday in July’ and represents the day on which the Gala is held each year.

The live event will be hosted from Redhills, the home of the Durham Miners Association (DMA), by the DMA’s Secretary Alan Mardghum.

He said: “The 200,000 people who attend the Gala will miss their great day out. We want to mark the day as best we can and bring people together in a spirit of solidarity and celebration.”

Gala crowds heading home from the racecourse in the 1950s.

Mr Mardghum said the Gala has ‘always provided a platform for working people, and this year we will hear from key workers across various sectors. Their efforts over recent months should have made clear to everyone the vital contribution they make to our country.

“We hope as many people as possible will join us for The Second Saturday in July.”

Supporters of the Gala will also be encouraged to use social media to post their own messages and favourite photos from attending the Gala throughout the day. To do that, people should use the hashtag #DurhamMinersGala.

First held in 1871, the Gala will return to Durham next year for its 150th anniversary.

Crowds pass under the balcony of the County Hotel and along Old Elvet at the 2019 Durham Miners' Gala.

For more than one hundred years, the Gala was funded by the working miners of the Durham coalfield which had pits throughout the North East including on Wearside, South Tyneside and in East Durham.

Following the closure of the collieries, the Friends of Durham Miners’ Gala was established to ensure the survival of the event.

Those who contribute through subscription are known as ‘Marras’, which a Durham miners’ term for a workmate or a friend who can be relied upon in times of need.

Dave Anderson, who is the Chair of the Friends and former MP for Blaydon, said: “If it wasn’t for our Marras, the Gala would simply no longer happen.

“I urge everyone who values the Gala to sign up, become our Marra, and help us ensure that our wonderful Gala returns bigger and better than ever in 2021 for its 150th anniversary.”

The Second Saturday in July will take place on Saturday 11 July. The live event will begin at 1pm on Facebook and YouTube.

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