New faces on Bowburn Centenary Banner in time for Durham Miners' Gala this month

Host of new additions have helped to fund the restoration of Durham community's banner

A host of new faces has been added to a former County Durham pit village’s community banner.

Bowburn’s Centenary Banner is almost nine years old and had been sent away to its producer for minor repairs.

In the process, and to raise funds for the Bowburn Banner Group, 24 new mini-portraits have been sewn on to the ‘march of time’ section, and just in time for the Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday July 12.

Mike Syer, secretary of the Bowburn Banner Group, said: “Among the new mini-portraits will Jimmy Milburn, who has done so much for the village, not least in donating a coal tub mining memorial, as well as many items for the Community Centre’s Heritage Room, and Alfie Swainston, whose daughter, Brenda Collins, the entertainer, has given her time generously to raise money for the Bowburn Banner Group.

“Several local residents have paid individually for the other 22 faces – either of themselves or of friends or relatives they have asked to be remembered in this way.

“Their payments have helped pay for the banner repairs.”

He added: “It has been nice to involve more people in the banner and have them contributing.

“It has been a fantastic project.”

The banner will also be on show at Bowburn Banner Group’s Eve of Gala concert, on Friday July 11.

Pittington Brass Band will play the music from the film Brassed Off, while actors from Oil Lamp Productions will perform scenes from the show.

These will be followed by an all-women band from France called Bomb Zatomic.

The concert, which starts at 7pm, is part of Durham Brass Festival.

Admission will be free on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 6pm and there is a bar available in the lounge.

Mike added: “This will be free, thanks to grants from Our Big Gig and from local county councillors.”

The banner is on display at Bowburn Community Centre, at Durham Road.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer