One of my personal highlights from last year was addressing more than 200,000 people at the Durham Miners’ Gala.

Looking out over Durham Racecourse at the biggest trade union and community meeting in Europe, it was impossible not to be inspired by the joy and solidarity of tens of thousands of people from across the country standing together.

I was humbled to learn that it was the largest gathering since Harold Wilson addressed the Big Meeting in 1964. Hundreds of bands and displays in front of the County Hotel.

They came because Labour had finally given them hope and a manifesto that promised to take our railways and utilities in to public ownership.

That pledged to abolish tuition fees for our young people and deliver a National Education Service, and real opportunities for all young people through apprenticeships or university.

But they also come to Durham to remember the unparalleled contribution made by miners to this country.

This year’s 134th Gala also marks other notable anniversaries I look forward to celebrating.

It is the centenary of the Fire Brigade Union. One hundred years on, this union continues to fight for the rights of its members, whose bravery and skill was highlighted during the shameful tragedy of Grenfell.

It is a century since some women finally won the right to vote, to have their say on the country they wanted to see.

And it is 150 years since the launch of the Trade Union Congress – unions coming together as a national movement to campaign for jobs, rights and decency for their workers.

And finally, it is 70 years since Nye Bevan spoke at the Durham Miners’ Gala after overseeing Labour’s greatest triumph – the National Health Service. The next Labour government will defend and extend the NHS.

I draw inspiration from Nye and that Labour government.

That’s why I want the next Labour government’s legacy to be a National Education Service, offering free education from the cradle to the grave.

In Durham and across the North-East, people voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union.

Labour will have no truck with the Tory free market version of Brexit led by their new cheerleader Dominic Raab, who sees a chance to complete Thatcher’s deregulation dream which will be a workers nightmare.

But equally, we won’t simply wish the referendum result away and go back to a business as usual economic model which has so obviously failed people in this country.

Labour gets why so many people in areas like this voted to “Leave”.

Areas such as Durham have been on the wrong end of a 30-year free market economic experiment which has placed the interests of big finance over the interests of working class communities.

Labour will use Brexit to make sure communities like this get proper control of our economy and democracy.

From taking back control of our trains, water and energy, to ensuring we build more of our ships and products in Britain and providing regional investment back to breathe life back into our regions, Labour is committed to sharing our nation’s wealth fairly across the country.

That’s why we will have a renewed focus on held back towns in deindustrialised areas that have been ignored by the Tories.

It won’t be easy.

The Tories have fought tooth and nail over the years against any change that benefits working class people. They opposed the creation of the NHS.

They scrapped Regional Development Agencies that boosted local economies. And they forced this country through eight years of devastating austerity that has denied our elderly social care, our hospitals the funding they needed and hit the living standards of people across the country.

Which is why I always draw inspiration from the Durham Miners’ Gala.

The miners helped deliver prosperity for our country for decades.

They put their lives on the line to provide coal that fuelled our economy, kept our lights on and funded the social change Labour delivered with our hospitals, schools and businesses.

But they did more.

They fought valiantly against Thatcher to preserve communities and collectivism. They stood up to the establishment to defend values and families.

When I come to Durham, I’m always inspired by what they achieved over decades and what they stood for. Their struggle was our struggle.

That’s not nostalgia for the past. The lesson of the past is to inspire our future.

The Gala reminds us of what we can achieve when we stand together to fight for our common goals of peace, prosperity and social justice.

And the spirit of the ‘Big Meeting’ will continue to fire my desire to return Labour to power so we bring about a better world, for the many not the few.