FORMER South Tyneside pitmen and their families will head to Durham City tomorrow for the 130th Durham Miners’ Gala.
The fun starts from about 8am when the bands and banners begin to assemble in Market Place and North Road before marching to the Racecourse, off Green Lane, for the rally and funfair.
New banners this year include one from St Hilda’s Colliery, in South Shields, New Brancepeth, and a joint UNITE union and Durham Miners’ Association banner, which marks the opening of a community support centre in the Miners’ Hall in Redhills, Durham City.
Each of the bands will stop as usual on the corner of Old Elvet and New Elvet to play for the assembled VIPs on the balcony of the County Hotel.
The rally and speeches are due to start on the field at 12.15pm, although this part of the day usually runs late.
Star speaker at the gala, also known as the Big Meet, this year is firebrand Labour MP Dennis Skinner.
Other speakers include four union general secretaries, Paul Kenny of the GMB, Steve Gillan of the Prison Officers’ Association, Christine Blower of teachers’ union NUT, and Mick Whelan from the rail workers’ union Aslef.
* In the meantime, enjoy our slideshow of pictures from Galas of years gone by, featuring such famnous faces as Arthur Scargill, Tony Benn, Neil Kinnock and Lord Dixon of Jarrow.