Durham Miner's Gala features official women's banner

Image source, Women's Banner Group
Image caption, The banner is made up of 12 panels, each designed by a different group

The 134th Durham Miners Gala is under way, featuring a banner celebrating the work done by women around County Durham during the miners' strikes.

Although there have been women's banners in the parade before, this is the first to be officially affiliated to the Durham Miners' Association.

The annual event is one of the largest trade union gatherings in Europe.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn will make a speech, calling for children to be taught in school about workers' rights.

Viewing the procession from the balcony of the County Hotel, he jokingly told a supporter: "This year we will have a general election".

Later, during a speech at the racecourse, he will say that many of the things we now take for granted, like weekends and paid holidays, have only been won by people coming together to demand change.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Jeremy Corbyn viewed the parade and will later go on to make a speech

The Big Meeting, as it is known, is a commemoration of Durham's mining industry, and the newest banner reflects women's contribution.

Laura Daly, who founded the Women's Banner Group, said: "It started out because women have always marched in the gala, always supported people.

"And thinking about the things women had done, it was 'hang on a second, shouldn't we give them a bit of recognition?'.

"The 100th anniversary of women getting the vote seemed the right time, and the gala was the best place because it's all about community and solidarity."

'Fly away'

The group was set up in November, and raised money through a crowdfunding campaign, and other money-raising events, before the banner was given the thumbs up by the Durham Miners' Association.

She said: "We were invited to the miners' association banner meeting, which was a bit intimidating as it was full of older men, but they were really, really supportive."

Image caption, The new banner will join dozens of more traditional ones in the procession through the city centre

As well as agreeing affiliation for the banner they also offered practical advice.

"They gave us training on how to carry a banner", she said.

"You've got to get the hand position correct or it's too tiring, and go with any gust of wind or you'll fly away."

After taking part in the parade the new banner will be "blessed" at Durham Cathedral.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, An anti-Trump banner was attached to the Durham Miners' Association HQ

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