Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry on bill for celebration of colliery culture in lead up to Durham Miners’ Gala

The hall of Durham Miners' Association in Redhills, Durham.
The hall of Durham Miners' Association in Redhills, Durham.

Two leading Labour MPs will head up a one of the key events lined up as part of this year’s Durham Miners’ Gala fringe festival.

The second annual Davy Hopper Memorial Lecture will see Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonweath Affairs Emily Thornberry deliver a lecture.

Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonweath Affairs, Emily Thornberry.

Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonweath Affairs, Emily Thornberry.

The event will celebrate the life of general secretary Dave Hopper, who died just days after the 2016 Big Meeting, and will be chaired by Laura Pidcock, the MP for North West Durham and Shadow Minister for Labour.

Organisers from Education 4 Action (E4A) say the guests are especially fitting given it is the International Year of the Woman and the anniversary of 100 years since women were first given the vote.

The free talk, on the evening of Friday, July 13, is among a host of activities to be held at Redhills, the headquarters of the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) in the lead up to Saturday, July 14.

Mary Stratford, chairman of Education 4 Action, said: “This year, in addition to our full programme of events we are delighted to present a further three keynote events, all of which are free and open to the public with tickets available on Eventbrite.
“Established in 2013, Education 4 Action facilitates events in the week preceding the Durham Miners’ Gala.

“We are a team of enthusiastic volunteers with a shared mining and Labour heritage.

“We work closely with the DMA, Marras and like-minded organisation and will warmly welcome anyone interested in joining us.

“The building is accessible and refreshments are available at most events.”

Other events include tours of Redhills, which is known as the Pitman’s Parliament, and its grounds, a private event for sixth form students where they will join in workshops on history, music, trade unions and mining communities and heritage.

On Monday, July 9, will be Ribbon Road, No Redemption Songs: Live Music and Film, which will focus on the work of photographer Keith Patterson’s iconic images of Easington taken in August 1984 during the strike, with the Ribbon Road aspect to feature Brenda Heslop’s folk songs.

On Tuesday, July 10, highlights include Tatties, Tears and Telegrams, a film made by a day care centre about workers struggling for rights, and A Funny Thing Happened On The Road To Utopia: North East History and the Art of the Political Playwright, a talk by South Shields based Ed Waugh.

The unveiling of the Women’s Banner Group’s new banner will also be held on Wednesday, July 11.

A full list of events and more detail can be found via www.facebook.com/E4A.DMA.