Durham Miners Gala

Held every year on the second Saturday in July the Durham Miners Gala is almost upon us. The 122nd Gala will again wend its way through the City to the beat of drums and the sound of a marching band. Starting in the City Centre with the assembled parade gathering beneath the statue of the Miners nemesis, the 3rd Marquis of Londonderry, it will pass through town to the old race course, the procession will bring the City centre to a halt once again. In excess of 50000 people are expected to come into the City for this event and a fine time will be had by all, weather permitting.

The Big Meeting would seem to have lost much of its purpose in that coal mining, especially in Co Durham and nationally is history. However, the purpose of the Gala and the heritage continues, as does the memory of those times.

Durham and most other mining areas of Great Britain have turned away from digging coal from deep and dangerous holes in the ground and once again we can celebrate the beauty of our City and County. For the newer generations arriving in 21st Century Durham they face vast opportunity, open landscapes and fresh air, plus a whole raft of new industries that are well documented and are creating fine life chances for youngsters that their forebears could only dream about.

We can never forget the sacrifices made by earlier generations who worked a mile beneath our feet, but we can be relieved that our young people will never have to go underground, unless they choose to, having fine education, excellent job opportunities, and this whole County for a playground.

The Durham Miners Gala will honour the past and remind us of the future, and enable us to see the rich bounty of 21st Century Durham City and County Durham, proud County and home of the Prince Bishops, what a heritage!

Roger J Langley

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