THE Durham Miners’ Association has announced new leadership in its 150th year.

Former miner Alan Mardghum has taken on the role of president/secretary of the DMA and says he is proud and humbled.

The 63-year-old will oversee efforts to secure a successful future for both the Durham Miners’ Gala, and Redhills, Durham Miners’ Hall and will continue to provide advice, support and representation for its members.

He said: “I am very proud and humbled to have this opportunity to represent Durham’s miners – something very close to my heart. The Durham miners made a massive contribution not just to our region but to our country. We will continue and strengthen our deep connections with our communities as we work to ensure the Durham miners have a legacy we can all be proud of and which will serve generations to come.”

The DMA has launched The Redhills Appeal, a campaign to secure the future of its historic home, Durham Miners Hall, as a centre for education, heritage, and culture.

It also hosts the Durham Miners’ Gala, which is Europe’s biggest celebration of community and trade union values, and working-class culture. Following the closure of the collieries, the DMA established the Friends of Durham Miners’ Gala to fund the event.

Mr Mardghum worked as a miner at Wearmouth Colliery for 16 years from 1977, and was active in the Wearmouth Lodge of the DMA throughout.

He succeeds former DMA secretary Alan Cummings, who retired last month on grounds of ill health, and former chairman Joe Whitworth, who retired from his post earlier this year. The two posts have been combined in the new role of President/ Secretary, which Mr Mardghum assumed yesterday (April 4).