Following the cancellation of the 2021 Durham Miners' Gala due to the Covid–19 pandemic, the 136th Big Meeting will now take place on Saturday 9 July 2022.
Durham Miners Association (DMA) Secretary Alan Mardghum set out the reasons for this year's cancellation in a letter to Gala partners and stakeholders. The text of the letter is published below.
Following the closure of Durham's collieries, the Gala has been funded by Marras - Friends of Durham Miners' Gala. Without the support of the Marras, the Gala could not happen in any year. Show your support for the Gala and ensure this great event returns bigger and better than ever in 2022.
Join the Marras here.
Letter from DMA Secretary Alan Mardghum to Gala partners and stakeholders:
After lengthy consultations with our partners we have, reluctantly, decided that this year’s Durham Miners’ Gala cannot go ahead.
The executive committee of the DMA felt we could not ask all of our partners in local government, the police, health services and banner groups to forge on towards our great day while the possibility of it being allowed to go ahead – with or without social distancing measures – seems less and less likely. Furthermore, we would be asking thousands of people to commit time, money and resources which they can ill afford.
The Prime Minister’s roadmap to Covid recovery made difficult reading for this year’s 150th Gala year. The key part of the timetable is June 21 which is the very earliest that the government says large public events could again be possible. That would leave a mere three weeks for us to mobilise or cancel the Gala which, as always, was scheduled for the second Saturday in July.
It was felt that the risk factors are too great to commit bands, banners and hard-pressed public services to the complex organisation of the Gala while the possibility of having to cancel the event is still very high.
We are also conscious that many of our Gala stalwarts may have been isolating for a year or so. Even with broadscale vaccinations, many may feel unsure about returning to large crowds.
2021 is the 150th anniversary year of the Gala and we are determined to keep the flame alive.
The Marras – the Friends of Durham Miners’ Gala – have already agreed to sponsor local events should we have to cancel The Big Meeting. Marras have also agreed that all banner groups will be paid double band allowance next year to help with the financial stress caused by Covid.
We are aware that this is not the best of news but the DMA’s top priority is to keep our members and supporters safe and secure during these troubled times. We will keep you informed of the plans to celebrate our 150th, albeit without our wonderful main event.
We will be back in 2022 with biggest and best Gala ever and we look forward to seeing you all there.
Yours, in solidarity,
Secretary, Durham Miners Association