Durham Miners Gala fundraising has begun with a target of £25,000 to keep the Durham Big Meeting going for years to come.

Durham Miners Gala has continued to grow over the years, with more than 200,000 people heading to Durham for the 2018 event.

But this new Durham Miners Gala fundraising drive has come amid rising costs associated with the increasing size of the Big Meeting. It is also due to the added expenses of the improved sound systems, new stage and giant video screen introduced last year to ensure that the 50,000 people who headed to the Durham Racecourse Ground were able to hear the speakers. It also meant that Gala goers were able to enjoy live music, with Billy Bragg playing to the crowds.

More visitors enjoying the Durham event also means more stewarding and security. The Friends of Durham Miners Gala are hoping that everyone who values the event will contribute either by becoming a Marra of the Big Meeting by joining the Friends of Durham Miners Gala, or by making a donation towards the Durham Miners Gala fundraising.

The Durham Miners Gala fundraising always previously relied on the miners themselves. Established in 1871, the Big Meeting was originally a day out for miners and their families, with miners coming in from the surrounding villages carrying their pit banners and accompanied by their colliery band.

This way of fundraising continued for the first 100 years of the Durham Miners Gala, but once the number of pits had declined, the Durham Miners Association set up the Marras to fill the gap and ensure future generations could enjoy the sights, sounds and atmosphere of the Durham Miners Gala.

Durham Miners Gala 2019 takes place on Saturday July 13 and organisers are expecting big numbers again as visitors flock into Durham.

To support the Durham Miners Gala fundraising drive, or to make a donation towards the 2019 event, you can email marras@durhamminersgala.org, or call 0191 386 8413.