Crowds descend on Durham for the Durham Miners' Gala as thousands turn out to hear Jeremy Corbyn speak

Traditional colliery brass bands and members of former mining communities gathered as part of an annual celebration of the regions mining heritage.

By James Barker
Saturday, 13 July, 2019, 17:01
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with his wife Laura ALvarez (left), makes a speech during the Durham Miners' Gala.

The 135th Durham Miners’ Gala, also known locally as the ‘big meeting’, saw thousands of people line the streets of the historic city.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Labour MP Laura Pidcock were amongst some of the dignitaries seen waving from the balcony of the County Hotel, at Old Elvet, where the two legs of the procession converged.

Villagers carrying mining banners, accompanied by brass bands paused to play their ‘party piece’ under the balcony before marching the short distance to the Racecourse.

On the Racecourse the banners from mining villages from around the country, were strapped to the surrounding fences and created a colourful tapestry of working class history.

But the rain, which came down prior to the speakers taking the stage, did not damped anyone’s spirits. Jeremy Corbyn took to the stage and he was greeted with chants of “oh, Jeremy Corbyn”.

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People travelled from far and wide to see the parade and to pay their respects to the families of the mining communities. Councillor John Mullen from Salford said: "This is the second time I have came to the Gala. It is important to show support to all the miners and families in the region who struggled to keep the pits alive."

Thousands of people crowd the streets of Durham for the annual Miners' Gala

He was joined by Councillor Michelle Barnes, she said: "This is my first time. But I think it speaks volumes that, no matter people backgrounds, they all come together to show their support."

Tototai Mativavarira, from London, also attended. He was dressed head to foot in red and wore a Jeremy Corbyn t-shirt and Corbyn hat. He said: "Jeremy Corbyn is our only hope. He brings people together and can take Britain further than anyone else. I've been to the Gala three times now, travelling from London. I think it is great."