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Popular Miners Festival Service returns to Durham Cathedral this weekend

Tens of thousands of people are preparing to gather in Durham City on Saturday 8 July 2023 for the 137th Miners Gala and details of the Miners Festival service at Durham Cathedral have now been announced.

The hugely popular Miners Festival Service at Durham Cathedral has been part of every Gala since 1897.

The service will begin at 3pm, where three banners will process into Durham Cathedral accompanied by brass and silver bands, to be blessed by the Bishop of Durham.

The banners, accompanied by North Skelton Band, the Durham Miners Association (DMA) Brass Band, and Stanhope Silver Band will parade into the cathedral from 2.30pm.

The banners to be blessed are Coxhoe Colliery; Hetton Lyons and Durham Aged Mineworkers Homes Association (DAMHA), celebrating its 125th anniversary. DAMHA will be accompanied by Stanhope Band, which is marking its 200th anniversary.

At the service, the Right Reverend James Jones, KBE, former Bishop of Liverpool and Chair of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, will preach the sermon.

Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Acting Dean of Durham said:

“The seams of the mining heritage of County Durham run deep within the sacred stones of Durham Cathedral and the Miners Festival Service is a highlight of the Cathedral’s year. This year, the Bishop will dedicate two new banners for Coxhoe and Hetton Lyons and will rededicate the Aged Mineworkers Homes Association banner. With James Jones, former Bishop of Liverpool and the Chair of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, preaching the sermon, we expect a packed Cathedral as we gather to celebrate an industry and a culture which helped make Durham the proud community which it is.”

Steve Gillan, the General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association will give an address on behalf of the DMA, and Grahame Morris MP, the Member of Parliament for Easington will give the reading. Jake Morris-Campbell, a writer from South Shields, will recite his poem 'Davy', a tribute to his great-grandfather, who worked in Boldon and Westoe Collieries.

DMA Secretary Alan Mardghum said:

“We are deeply proud that the immense contribution of our communities over many generations is celebrated each year in the magnificent setting of Durham Cathedral. Our thanks as ever to everyone at the cathedral for the work they do and for hosting this service that means so much to us all.”

The service is always very popular and people are advised to arrive in good time. Doors open at 1.30pm.

The service will be live streamed on Durham Cathedral’s Facebook page.

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