Durham Miners' Gala: A 'record' 150,000 cram into city as they celebrate area's coal-mining heritage


Reproduced from an article in the Daily Mirror by Jon Livesey, 11th July 2015 - You can view the original here

The biggest trade union event in Europe, Durham Miners' Gala saw people lining the streets, marching, waving banners, singing and dancing

A staggering - and most likely record-breaking - 150,000 people paraded through a city centre as part of the annual Durham Miners' Gala this morning.


With the sun shining in the North East, by 8am the streets were lined with people waving and cheering ahead of the event, known as the Big Meeting.

As bands made their way to the Racecourse, mining banners from former collieries across the region were carried and displayed with pride.

Those represented included East Durham, Sunderland and South Tyneside, while unions, NASUWT and GMB, also put their colours on show.

The event was given a dash on added glamour by Turner Prize-winning transvestite, Grayson Perry, who was there as part of a documentary about masculinity.

He joined the march, walking with the Trimdon Grange Banner.

Durham Miners' Gala is the biggest trade union event in Europe, and this year it attracted factions from as far afield as Cuba and Venezuela.

Former Easington miner, Billy Huitson, 89, helped give the event an air of authenticity as he dressed as a pitman, entertaining the crowds with his singing and dancing.

Speakers included NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates, Fire Brigades’ Union general secretary Matt Wrack, and train drivers’ union, ASLEF president, Tosh McDonald.

As always, a traditional blessing of the banners service takes place in Durham Cathedral.

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