I, Daniel Blake director to speak at Durham Gala

Ken Loach, pictured after winning the Outstanding British Film award for I, Daniel Blake at the EE British Academy Film Awards earlier this year. Photo by PA.
Ken Loach, pictured after winning the Outstanding British Film award for I, Daniel Blake at the EE British Academy Film Awards earlier this year. Photo by PA.

Award-winning director Ken Loach is to appear as a speaker at this year's Big Meeting.

The organisers of the event, which will be held in Durham on Saturday, July 8, will welcome the man behind the Palme d'Or and Bafta Best British Film winner I, Daniel Blake, The Wind That Shakes The Barley and Kes to the stage.

Thousands of people turn out each year for the Durham Miners' Gala.

Thousands of people turn out each year for the Durham Miners' Gala.

A statement from the organisers said: "We are delighted to announce that the acclaimed film director and activist Ken Loach will speak at this year's Durham Miners' Gala on Saturday, July 8.

"Ken is renowned for his numerous excellent films, many of which have dealt with important social issues and historical events.

"His most recent film I, Daniel Blake movingly exposes the inhumane treatment which many people who are trying to access social security entitlements are being subjected to.

"We are very pleased that he will join us at this year's Durham Big Meeting, which remains the largest working-class festival in Britain."

A brass band performing at a previous Big Meeting.

A brass band performing at a previous Big Meeting.

I, Daniel Blake follows the story of a man who must rely on welfare after a heart attack leaves him unable to work.

Despite his failing heath, the authorities deny him benefits and tell him to return to work.

As he goes through the appeal process, he forms a bond with a single mum struggling to provide for her two children.

Previous speakers at the Gala include Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who addressed the crowd last year, fellow party member Dennis Skinner MP, Ed Milliband during his time as Labour leader, actor Ricky Tomlinson, who talked of the campaign for justice for the Shewsbury 24, and a host of trade union leaders.

More details about the event are available via http://www.durhamminers.org/