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NUJ banner & burgers in the North East

Newcastle branch’s centenary NUJ banner, sporting an image of Joseph Cowen, the 19th Century English radical journalist and Liberal politician from Blaydon, Newcastle upon Tyne. On the obverse is The Shot at Dawn campaign theme.  -  © Jean Smith

30 July 2016

The Sunderland, Shields and Hartlepool branch of the NUJ organised a summer barbecue and invited neighbours Newcastle to join them for solidarity and chips.

To the delight of Wearside and Teesside members, Ken and Jean Smith and Newcastle treasurer David Baines arrived shouldering Newcastle branch’s centenary banner - a traditional standard in the style carried with pride each year in the Durham Miners’ Gala.

It was erected in the garden of the King’s Arms, Deptford for the open-air meeting and social on Thursday 21 July.

The aim behind the social was to boost attendance as well as thank regulars for their loyalty.

Sunderland, Shields and Hartlepool are proud of their consistent monthly meeting record since the branch was re-launched in January 2011. They believe few can match it.

Immediate past president and NEC member for the north east, Adam Christie, travelled from Leeds to report the latest union news and to encourage Sunderland’s union activity. He applauded both branches’ ambition to enter Newcastle’s banner in next year’s Durham Miners’ Gala and suggested several ways to build a good turn-out to march behind it in July 2017.

Author-historian Ken Smith, who oversaw the detailed work to create the Tyne standard, supported by his wife Jean, has continued their strong friendship with the Durham Miners and will enter Newcastle’s standard behind a local colliery band.

The banner was blessed during Sunday song in a Newcastle church, shortly before it made its first public appearance at the NUJ delegate meeting in October 2013.

Any NUJ members who would like to take part in the 2017 Durham Miners’ Gala and join Newcastle, Sunderland, Shields and Hartlepool colleagues to walk behind the banner should contact Ken Smith on or SS&H branch secretary John Bainbridge on for more information.

Tags: , sunderland shields and hartlepool branch, newcastle branch, banners, durham miners gala, branch meeting