EX-MINERS and their families are to welcome a restored lodge banner permanently back to a former colliery community.

North-East Euro MP Stephen Hughes is the guest figure at Friday’s (MAY 3) night of nostalgia, in Sherburn Village, near Durham.

It is being staged at Sherburn Village Workingmen’s Club to formally mark the return of the restored banner, last paraded through the village prior to Durham Miners’ Gala in 1965.

Having been kept in storage for a number of years at a chapel, several miles away, in Hetton-le-Hole, it was “re-discovered” by a group of local fundraisers.

They raised money to meet the restoration of the banner, which was in a poor state of repair.

But the campaign continued to raise sufficient funds for a suitable display case as well as a replica to march through Durham into this year’s gala, in July.

Banner group chairman Stephen Guy said the veteran Euro MP’s links with the mining communities of the Durham coalfield stretch back to the year he was first elected as the county’s Euro MP in 1984, during the miners’ strike.

Mr Hughes, who steps down at next year’s Euro election, said he is delighted to be involved with the banner group and the event.

“Miners’ banners have a long tradition and communities do have a proud attachment to them.

“They contain messages of struggle and hope. Many which still ring true today.

“I’m excited at the prospect of joining the group for the evening of celebration.”

The event starts at 7pm and features live music from Dennis, The Fabulous Wildon Brothers Blues Band and Sahara.

Tickets cost £3 and can be ordered from banner group secretary Keith Smith, on 0191-372 0749.