Thousands turn out for ‘fantastic’ Miners’ Gala
TENS of thousands of people gathered for a historic annual event celebrating the area’s mining heritage.
Up to 80 banners were paraded through the streets and around 50 bands performed at the 128th Durham Miners’ Gala.
Labour leader Ed Miliband addressed the thousands in the city, the first labour leader to speak at the Gala for 23 years.
Stephen Akers-Belcher, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council, attended the event and sat alongside Mr Miliband.
Councillor Akers-Belcher described his pride at representing the town at the event.
He told the Mail: “It was an honour to be at the Meet representing the council and it was a fantastic day.
“A lot of Hartlepool faces were there and I had the chance to meet a lot of people.”
Thousands of people from various former mining ccommunities marched through the city.
A service was then held at Durham Cathedral, where new banners were blessed as part of the ceremony.
Among those marching was 81-year-old Bob Rowland.
Bob, from Horden, has been attending the annual event since he was five-years-old.
But he said Saturday’s event attracted the biggest crowd he has seen in a long time.
Bob, who went to the Big Meet with his wife, Joan, 79, and watched his son-in-law John Gill perform in Fishburn’s band, said: “It was an excellent day.
“A fantastic effort from everyone in the county. It was so busy, you could barely move.
“Mr Miliband got a marvellous response, I was really pleased to see him there.”
The Labour leader took the opportunity to speak about the importance of getting young people into work.
After his address he headed to the party’s tent and posed for photographs and signed programmes.
He was joined on the day by other party members and trade union leaders
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Weather for Peterlee
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 3 C to 11 C
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Wind direction: North west