FILMMAKER Ken Loach will be reading at the festival service at this year's Durham Miners' Gala.

This year, the service at Durham Cathedral will see three new banners blessed, including a new one made for Durham Miners' Association (DMA), which has been created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the organisation, as well as new banners from Horden and Blackhall Lodge.

Mr Loach, who is best known for films like Kes and I, Daniel Blake, said it was an honour to be asked to read a lesson from the bible during the service, which takes place on Saturday, July 13.

He said: "I can’t think of a more impressive occasion or a more magnificent cathedral.”

Dean of Durham Andrew Tremlett said: "The Durham Miners’ Festival Service is a real highlight of the cathedral calendar, and anticipation is already building in the city ahead of July. The cathedral service gives us the opportunity to reflect on the region’s mining legacy, as well as celebrate community cohesion and hope, as new banners are dedicated and the people of County Durham gather in their cathedral to give thanks."

DMA secretary Alan Mardghum said: "We are delighted that Ken Loach, a great supporter of ours, will give this year’s reading on behalf of the DMA, and in our 150th year we look forward to our new area banner receiving its blessing."