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Newcastle branch's banner was lofted high at the Durham Miners' Gala

© Carolyn Bainbridge

16 July 2018

NUJ members ensured the union’s name was prominent at the North East’s biggest celebration of trade unionism this weekend.

The Newcastle branch banner was lofted high among hundreds of others including miners lodges and fellow unions during The 134th Durham Miners’ Gala as they paraded through the streets.

Members were joined by colleagues from the Sunderland, Shields and Hartlepool branch to carry the silk banner, which depicts 19th-century radical politician and newspaper editor Joseph Cowen, a supporter of the miners, among other causes.

The reverse of the banner celebrates the Shot At Dawn campaign, which succeeded in obtaining posthumous pardons for First World War soldiers executed for cowardice or desertion, largely due to the efforts of retired Newcastle teacher John Hipkin.

The banner was commissioned in 2012 to mark the Newcastle branch centenary and coincide with that year's delegate meeting in the city.

The march resounded to the colliery brass bands as the parade reached the riverside site of the Gala, or “The Big Meeting”, where powerful speeches were made by Labour Party member and NUJ member Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party chair and former North East miner Ian Lavery, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, TUC general secretary and NUJ member Frances O’Grady, Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby, MP Dennis Skinner and Fire Brigades' Union general secretary Matt Wrack.

The huge crowd gathered in Durham also heard a message of support from American socialist icon Bernie Sanders.

Tags: , newscastle branch, sunderland shields and hartlepool branch, durham miners' gala, jeremy corbyn, frances o'grady, berine sanders, emily thornberry, ian lavery