International feel for 130th Durham Miners’ Gala

YESTERYEAR: Looking back at Durham Miners' Gala
YESTERYEAR: Looking back at Durham Miners' Gala

MOMENTUM is building for this year’s Big Meet – which will be given a truly international flavour.

The 130th Durham Miners’ Gala takes place on Saturday, July 12 in Durham City.

Scores of East Durham ex-miners and their families are expected to flock to the popular event, with organisers hoping a party of Ukrainian miners will be attending.

Also expected is a delegation from Ireland’s Jim Connell Society, as well as a group from Germany.

Speakers are Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB, Mick Whelan, general secretary of train drivers’ union ASLEF, Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association and Dennis Skinner, MP for Bolsover.

Dave Hopper, general secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA), said the 30th anniversary of the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike and the strike by civil servants taking place this week were sure to be referred to in the speeches.

He said: “There will be quite a few references to the miners’ strike, certainly bearing in mind the fact that the revelations came out about the lies and deceit used by the cabinet, Government and the state.

“The strike by a million civil servants will also be part and parcel of the speeches.”

Cabinet papers revealed the Thatcher Government had a secret plan to close 75 pits at the cost of 65,000 jobs.

It was also revealed the Government sought to influence police tactics to escalate the dispute and actively considered declaring a state of emergency and deploying the Army.

Buses were expected to be leaving from various villages, including Trimdon, Blackhall and Horden early on Saturday for the event.