I was delighted to attend the unveiling of Murton Colliery Banner organised by Murton Colliery Banner Committee last Saturday alongside Alan Mardghum from the Durham Miners Association.
The banner is magnificent, and the imagery and artwork is inspiring.
Our miners’ banners are the very essence of our industrial and social history, which is a proud history woven into the very fabric of the banners.
Seeing the banner unfurled in my hometown of Murton is made even more poignant for me because my late father Richard, grandfather, uncles, and cousins all worked at the colliery and my mother worked in the pit canteen.
There has been a shared sense of disappointment that the Durham Miners Gala could not go ahead due to the pandemic for the last two years.
We are all looking forward to July 2022 to the largest gathering and celebration of loyalty, comradeship and social solidarity forged in the dangerous and unforgiving conditions that prevailed in the coal mines.
We should never forget the life of a coal miner was often cut short and 150 years ago fatal accidents were commonplace. It was against this background that the values that shaped our community were formed.
We do not walk by when our neighbours are in trouble, we stand shoulder to shoulder and support one another. Our community today embodies the vision and values Murton Miners Banner. Solidarity, Fairness, Equality, Justice and Resilience.
Let us not forget the men and boys killed at Murton Colliery and the thousands in the Durham Coalfield who made the ultimate sacrifice in building our community.
In the Labour movement we promise every year at events across the Country “to remember the dead and fight for the living.”
The Murton Colliery Banner Committee have honoured our community tonight with this beautiful new banner.
We should always take pride in our shared history and traditions that honour the values of solidarity, unity, strength and never give up on the hope to build a better future for the next generation.