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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 July 2006, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Crowds celebrate mining gala day
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More than 100 banners will be on view at the Durham Miners' Gala
Mining communities from all over the north-east of England gathered in Durham on Saturday for the city's 122nd Durham Miners' Gala.

About 50,000 people were at the city's former racecourse to see the traditional parade of more than 100 elaborate mining banners.

The event was marked by speeches from politicians and union leaders.

But the star attraction of this year's gala was a performance by X-Factor duo Journey South.

The event, also known as the "big meeting" by locals, began as a memorial to miners who died working in the pits.

The gala was first staged in Wharton Park, Durham, in 1871 by the Durham Miners' Association, which had been formed two years earlier.

At its peak, in the 1950s and 1960s, the gala attracted crowds in excess of 300,000.


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