A COMMUNITY is once again preparing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the closure of a coalmine.

Like many former pit villages across the region, Craghead, near Stanley will be sending its banner to Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday.

It follows the events held in April to mark the half century since the colliery shut for good.

The current miners banner is a replica of the 1962 lodge banner and was unveiled fourteen years ago.

The 2019 parade will also be a poignant one for another reason.

May Ridley, the last of the four local women who helped Durham County Councillor Mark Davinson initiate the banner project in the early 2000’s, passed away in February.

Craghead Band will play a hymn before the parade to remember May, Eileen Cox, Olga Batey and Alison Brydon who were active in the community for many years and believed in preserving the heritage of the village.

John Gibson, who founded the popular Craghead Past and Present Facebook page three years ago and has been a resident of Craghead most of his life, said: “When the pit was open the Big Meeting was something everyone looked forward to each year.

“I’m delighted 50 years on from the closure Craghead is still taking part.”

The parade takes place on Saturday at 7.30am from the village hall to the Victory Club and approximately 3.30pm for the reverse. A rolling road closure will be in place for safety reasons.