AN annual celebration of the region’s mining history is expecting more huge crowds to take part this year.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is one of the line-up of speakers set to take part at the 134th Durham Miners’ Gala, which takes place this year on Saturday, July 14.

Joining him is shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and MP Ian Lavery, while North West Durham MP Laura Pidcock is due to give the address at the miners’ festival service at Durham Cathedral.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has also been invited to speak to mark the organisation’s 150th anniversary, while Matt Wrack, from the Fire Brigade Union, is also speaking to mark the centenary of the FBU.

FBU representatives from every region will be attending the event, which will serve as the official celebration of its 100th anniversary.

Jennie Formby, general secretary of the Labour party, will also be speaking about 100 years of women’s suffrage.

Ross Forbes, from the Friends of Durham Miners’ Gala, said: “The gala this year will be quite reflective of the history of trade unions coming of age.

“We’re really pleased with everyone on the list. The leader of the Labour party was absent from the Miners’ Gala for many years so we are pleased Jeremy Corbyn is coming again.

“It’s an event for the Labour movement and trade unionists as well as for the people of County Durham.

“We’re really looking forward to another successful year.”

Gala stalwart Dennis Skinner will also be a guest speaker.

Organisers are expecting crowds similar to last year, when around 200,000 people packed into Durham for the annual spectacle of brass bands, banners and speakers.

One of the new banners to be processed to the cathedral is one made by women from all over County Durham, produced to mark the centenary of some women gaining the vote.

Around 55 bands are expected to take part, with musicians coming from all over the country to take part.

A new staging system is being brought in for this year, so speakers will be projected onto large screens at the Racecourse venue.

There will also be more stewards and increased security than in previous years.

The gala’s international campaign is in support for Kurdish prisoner Abdullah Ocalan.

Last year’s event, which drew around 200,000 people, was thought to be the biggest gala in recent years.

The increased interest was put down to the presence of Mr Corbyn. This will be the third year in a row he has been a speaker at the gala.