FROM coalfield songs to flat caps and banners, the mining heritage of two towns was celebrated as part of a special football match on Saturday.

That's as Spennymoor Town FC joined forces with the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) to make the home game against Alfreton Town a special one.

Both towns have a strong mining history which was marked during the Vanarama National League North match.

Lady Elsie Robson, a keen ambassador for the region’s mining heritage, was guest of honour at the match, which was also supported by business leaders.

Supporters, both old and young, turned out in flat caps to show their support for the day while the club’s academy children marched onto the pitch holding historical mining banners from DMA, accompanied by a miners’ band.

Collections were held at the match for “The Marras” Friends of Durham Miners’ Gala, which runs the annual Big Meeting.

More than 1,000 people turned out to support the event including the mayor of Spennymoor, Clive Maddison and MP for Bishop Auckland, Helen Goodman.

Councillor Maddison said: "I think it's great that everyone has pulled together to celerbate our mining heritage. It's a lovely day and I hope Spennymoor get promoted."

Tony Wilson, managing director of Spennymoor Town FC, said: “It's a fantastic day where we can celebrate our heritage line and to see the younger generation turn out is fantastic.

"One of the reasons we picked this game was because both teams have a strong mining heritage and they welcomed it with open arms."

Mr Wilson, who presented Lady Robson with a special engraved, Davis mining lamp, added: "It''s bringing the community together as it's not just about the football but the whole club and all the organisations in Spennymoor."

Ross Forbes, programme director at Durham Miners’ Association, said: “We are really, really chuffed that Spennymoor embraced The Marras and we hope it's the start of a long association between the two of us."

Mr Forbes said the town was at the "heart" of the coal field and the two groups hoped to make the day an annual event.

The game ended with a 1-1 draw, with Spennymoor's Glen Taylor scoring in the first half and Alfreton Town equalising in the second half.