A Truly Memorable Day
The unveiling of the exact replica of the historic 1938 banner of Durham Miners’ Association Follonsby Lodge at Wardley on Saturday was a most memorable occasion, one to be treasured and, hopefully, one worthy of this tremendous banner.
The new-old banner is truly a work of art with great pains having been taken to ensure its accuracy in the smallest detail.
Great, great, credit must go to Dave Douglass and to all those he has enlisted to work with him on the Follonsby Miners’ Banner Association for this magnificent effort, accomplished without any support from the National Lottery.
The unveiling event itself, attended by about 80 guests including national NUM general secretary Chris Kitchen and NUM Yorkshire Area chairman Chris Skidmore, was an occasion not to have been missed with brief speeches from NUM North East Area general secretary Dave Hopper, Dave Douglass himself, and UNITE youth activist Paul Phillips (speaking on preparations for a new Jarrow March) after the actual unveiling of the banner by the Deputy Mayor of Gateshead, Malcolm Brain.
In keeping with the best traditions of the North-East’s mining culture, we were entertained after the unveiling by the excellent Felling Brass Band which had opened the event with a moving rendition of Gresford.
Again, a big “Thank You” also must go to the organisers for the free buffet that they so kindly laid on and for the free brochure on the life of the Legendary Follonsby miner – the “pitman Bolshevik” – George Harvey.
As with the ever-growing Durham Miners Gala – on 9 July this year with seven banners revived! – Saturday’s ceremony at Wardley reflected the determination of the Area NUM, the mining community and activists in the working class movement to maintain the traditions of struggle that the boss class has been constantly trying to eradicate since shutting down the coal industry.
Looking forward to seeing you all in Durham on 9 July.