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DURHAM Miners’ Gala organisers have launched a £25,000 fundraising push to improve and develop the annual event.
Crowds flocking to the Big Meeting have grown in recent years, driving up the cost of the free festival, which is worth more than £10 million to the local economy, organisers said.
Last year, more than 200,000 people attended the Big Meeting, making it one of the country’s biggest events of 2018.
Organisers said they expect even more visitors at this year’s event, held on Saturday July 13, and everyone who values the Gala is being urged to contribute by becoming a “marra” (friend) of the Gala.
The Gala was originally funded by working miners, but following the closure of collieries the Marras were formed to secure the future of the historic event.
Marras chairman Dave Anderson called the Gala “a unique and inspiring spectacle.”
The former miner, who served as Labour MP for Blaydon from 2005-2017, said: “There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world and it happens in Durham, attracting people from near and far to the city for the weekend.
“Whether you enjoy the sights and sounds and atmosphere of the Big Meeting, share its values of solidarity and community, or value the contribution it makes to the local economy, please sign up, become a Marra, and help ensure this wonderful day continues to survive and thrive.”
High-profile guest speakers and performers will be announced in the coming months. A new feature film entitled The Big Meeting is expected to hit the big screen later this year.
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