'Don't head to Durham on Miners Gala day' - plea from Big Meeting organisers

Durham Big Meeting officials have urged people not to head to the city on what would have been Miners Gala day.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 10:58 am
Updated Thursday, 9th July 2020, 11:00 am
A scene from a previous Durham Miners Gala.
A scene from a previous Durham Miners Gala.

The warning has come from officials at the Durham Miners Association. The 136th Durham Miners Gala was due to take place this Saturday but was cancelled in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The DMA took the decision to cancel in the early days of the pandemic to relieve pressure on public services in the run up to the event, which attracts more than 200,000 people.

An online celebration will mark the day and people are encouraged to enjoy the digital celebrations at home.

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Crowds on Durham racecourse in 1939.

With pubs reopening last weekend, the DMA is concerned that people may travel to Durham to mark what would have been Gala day.

DMA Secretary Alan Mardghum said: “We understand that people will be tempted, particularly with the reopening of pubs, to come into Durham with friends as they do each year.

“If people do so in large numbers, it will put pressure on our public service workers at a time they most need our support.

“I ask everyone who loves the Gala to act in the spirit of the day, and to continue to do their bit for our community.

On the march in Durham.

“The Gala will be back next year for its 150th anniversary. We will do all we can to ensure that it is the biggest and best Gala to date. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Durham in 2021. Until then, stay safe, and take care.”

Saturday will be marked online with a series of new content celebrating the spirit and values of the event.

The centrepiece of the day will be a live event streamed to Facebook and YouTube at 1pm. It is titled ‘The Second Saturday in July’ – the day on which the Gala is held each year.

Gala supporters are being encouraged to use social media to post their own messages and favourite photos from attending the Gala throughout the day, using the hashtag #DurhamMinersGala.

The 136th Durham Miners Gala will now take place on Saturday 10 July 2021, in the event’s 150th anniversary year.

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