"Don't flock to Durham on what would have been Gala day" - Durham Miners

The Durham Miners Association (DMA) is asking people not to flock to the city on what would have been Gala day.

The 136th Durham Miners Gala was due to take place this Saturday, 11 July. The event 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.

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.

“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 online event streamed to Facebook and YouTube at 1pm.

The day is titled ‘The Second Saturday in July’ – the day on which the Gala is held each year.

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

For more than a century, the Gala was funded by the working miners of the Durham coalfield. Following the closure of the collieries, the Friends of Durham Miners’ Gala was established to ensure the survival of the event. Those who contribute through subscription are known as ‘Marras’, a Durham miners’ term for a workmate or friend who can be relied upon in times of need. Join the Marras here.

The Second Saturday in July will take place on Saturday 11 July. The live event will begin at 1pm on Facebook and YouTube.