A FLORAL display to celebrate 150 years of the region's mining heritage has been unveiled in Durham for the launch of Durham in Bloom.

Durham County Council annually chooses a themed floral display on Gilesgate roundabout as part of its entry into the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom competition.

This year the display is a tribute to the Durham Miners' Association (DMA) in recognition of 150 years of the mining union in County Durham. The flowers, planted by council staff, with help from children from Gilesgate Primary School, are in the shape of the DMA emblem.

Alan Mardghum, DMA secretary, and Ross Forbes, programme director, joined the council’s head of environment, Oliver Sherratt and Councillor Brian Stephens, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, at its unveiling.

Mr Mardghum said: “The planting is a great tribute to the 150th year of the miners’ union. It is a commemoration of a central core of our heritage and culture. It means a lot to the association and to the people of the county that our anniversary is commemorated in this way.”

There will be a range of planting schemes that will celebrate the county’s history of mining, including a display on Leazes roundabout.

Cllr Brian Stephens added: “Since its establishment in1869 the DMA has provided unprecedented support for thousands of former miners from County Durham. As this year marks its 150th anniversary we thought this floral display would be a fitting tribute, especially when we will be welcoming hundreds of visitors to the city this summer for the Durham Miners' Gala.

“We couldn’t do it without the help of green-fingered pupils from Gilesgate Primary School, who were back again giving a helping hand for the seventh year in a row. We would also like to give our thanks to the Banks Group who have very kindly donated coal for one of the displays.”

Judges from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Champion of Champions competition on Monday, 29 July.

Groups that wish to get involved in improving the environment should contact Durham County Council’s civic pride team at civcpride@durham.gov.uk or call 03000 261000 to find out how they can make their area a greener place to live or work.