Big Meeting supporters dig deep to save Durham Miners’ Gala

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A CAMPAIGN to save the Durham Gala for future generations has hit a milestone as it signed up its 1,000th member.

Its organisers say they need financial backing after the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) was left with a £2million bill after fighting claims for miners left with osteoarthritis of the knee.

The six-year case failed at the Court of Appeal. The Friends of the Durham Miners’ Gala have recruited its 1,000th member after a plea for help to cover the costs of the Big Meeting.

The DMA’s general secretary, Dave Hopper, said: “This is a brilliant start and I thank everyone who has helped us to achieve this.

“In little over a year we have got half way to where we want to be, to secure the Gala’s future.

“The whole philosophy behind this appeal is for many people to give a little on a regular basis.

“Now that the Durham Miners have no regular income from working miners, we had to think of some way to finance the Gala well into the future. If we did nothing, we would simply run out of money and our Gala, which is enjoyed by tens of thousands of people each year, would die.”

He added that comments from Kevan Jones, the MP for North Durham, who raised concerns of where its funds had gone, had helped, because well-wishers donated as they were incensed by his comments.