JEREMY Corbyn will head the list of speakers at the Durham Miners’ Gala, on Saturday, it was confirmed over the weekend.

It would have been more of a surprise if the Labour leader was not taking centre stage at the Big Meeting, given his popularity among gala-goers in recent years.

A weekend statement issued by the Marras, the Friends of Durham Miners’ Gala, stated: “We are pleased to announce that leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn completes our line-up of speakers at the 135th Big Meeting.

“Jeremy is the 15th Labour leader to speak at the Gala, a tradition that dates back to the first leader, Keir Hardie, who spoke in 1906.”

Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) secretary Alan Mardghum, who will chair proceedings on the Racecourse speakers’ stand for the first time, said: “In our 150th year, the platform reflects and reaffirms the founding principles of the Big Meeting.

“As our predecessors at the DMA put it: ‘The essential of the day is the renewal of our pledge to the cause of trades unionism.’

“As at the first gala, our speakers are drawn from the Labour and trade union movement, each carrying on the cause on which we were founded - socialism.”

Crowds from former colliery villages will gather in the centre of Durham from about 8.30am, before the bands and lodge banners process through the city to the Racecourse, where the speeches will begin at 1pm.

The Miners’ Festival Service at Durham Cathedral, a tradition dating from 1897, will begin with the procession of bands and banners at 2.30pm, followed by the service at 3pm, during which film director Ken Loach will give a reading on behalf of the DMA.

Gala-goers seeking to make a weekend of it in Durham can still book camping places for Friday or Saturday night, or both.

Camper vans and caravans, as well as tents, are welcome, costing £15 per person per night for adults, £7.50 for under 16s, and is free for under 5s, with proceeds going to the Marras group, to help with gala funding.

This year’s gala poster incorporates the famous Big Meeting mural, commissioned in 1963, the creation of acclaimed pitman painter Norman Cornish, in the year of the centenary of his birth.

Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti will give this year’s Dave Hopper Memorial Lecture on the eve of the gala, at Redhills, the Durham Miners’ Hall, in memory of the DMA’s longest-serving general secretary, on Friday evening.

Tickets are on sale now from Redhills, with proceeds also going to the Marras.

Further details on all the above events are available via, the Marras’ group website.