THE Heritage Lottery Fund has given £25,200 towards the restoration of the Esh Winning Colliery Banner.

The 1940s icon, which features Durham NUM's headquarters on one side and a miner and coal owner shaking hands before an angel on the other, has been at Beamish Museum for years and is tattered and torn.

The village's banner group plans to restore it and keep it on display at the local school and create a replica that can be paraded at the Durham Miners' Gala.

Spokesman for the group, Bob Heslop, said: "This Heritage Lottery award to our group will ensure that the history, heritage and sacrifice of the mining communities in the Durham coalfield will be remembered. Our banner will be a reminder.''

Keith Bartlett, regional manager for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), said; "Miners' banners are a vital part of local heritage in the North-East, and this is illustrated by the record numbers of people who attended the 2005 Durham Gala.

"HLF is determined to support projects like Esh Winning, to ensure that this important part of our history is remembered for the benefit of future generations.

"It's a fantastic example of communities and individuals, both young and old, working together to preserve and protect their memories and industrial heritage, and we wish them much luck with the project."

Special wooden display cabinets will be made to house both emblems, which will be display so that people can see both sides.

The money given by the HLF will also go towards events and activities to get villagers interested in the project and tell them more about Esh Winning's mining past and traditions.