Bowburn Banner Group News

(Last updated 12thJuly 2020)

It is some time since this page was updated.  Sorry!  But a lot has been happening since the last posting, and Bowburn Banner Group is still thriving.

(For more regularly updated news about what is happening in Bowburn – including Banner Group news – see the village newsletter, Bowburn Interchange. Just click on the “
Interchange” link at the top of this page, to find the latest editions.)

  No Gala in 2020 – But Bowburn’s miners are always remembered

Although there was no Big meeting this year, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, members of Bowburn Banner Group made sure a wreath was laid, as every year, at one of the two mining memorials in the village.

A video showing this simple ceremony, as well as the memorials themselves, can be watched on YouTube:

Bowburn Colliery memorials wreath July 2020

  Another great Gala – bigger and better every year!

Two Durham Miners’ Gala Days have been and gone, each one larger than the one before. Amazingly successful!  Thanks, DMA!  (Join the Marras!)
Kippax Band have on both occasions done us proud, again, both in Durham City and in our ealy morning parade around the village.  Thanks, Kippax!
And two Eve of Gala concerts have been and gone, too – with two wonderful bands, DENNIS (in 2016) and The Backroom Band NE (in 2017).  (Thanks to both!)

We were sad to lose one of our own stalwart members, ex-Bowburn miner Dickie Evans, and also Keith Fairburn, late secretary of Kippax, during the past twelve months, and our Centenary Banner carried black drapes at the 2107 Big Meeting, in their memory.

We've continued to take part in several community and heritage events, including the annual Fun Days and Remembrance Sunday services, in Bowburn, and others elsewhere – including at Hetton-le-Hole, Houghton-le-Spring, Heworth (the Thomas Hepburn Memorial Services), Beamish Museum (the “Old King Coal” weeks) and the Durham Mining Communities Banner Groups Association’s Heritage Open Days exhibitions.

We have been grateful for continued sponsorship from Travis Perkins and Howdens Joinery, and for donations of bottled water from Northumberland Water Ltd.  The efforts of our own voluntary fundraisers have also been superb.  Without them, we could not take part so spectacularly in all these annual events.

Meanwhile, three of our banners – the unique 1920 Edith Cavell Banner, the 1959 “Racecourse” Banner and our 2006 Centenary Banner – are still on permanent display and in full view to all users of Bowburn Community Centre, while two others – the 1985 Tursdale Mechanics NUM Banner and our 2006 Bowburn Children’s Banner – are hung in the History & Heritage Room, also in Bowburn Community Centre, and can be viewed on request.

The Centenary Banner will be going for further minor touch-ups and repairs later this year, and we have again invited people to commission new mini-portraits to join the crowd in the “March of Time” Gala scene, to help pay for these. It is expected that these will be on show, for the first time, some time before Christmas 2017.

Honouring Nurse Edith Cavell and Bowburn’s World War I heroes

Bowburn Banner Group and Bowburn Local History Society are organising an event including exhibition, presentation and brass band concert on Friday 16th October, to mark the centenary of the execution of Nurse Edith Cavell, who was uniquely portrayed on the Bowburn Miners’ Lodge banner in 1920.

16 October 2015 event poster

Travis Perkins and Howdens Joinery sponsor Banner Group

Bowburn Banner Group is delighted to have received donations, once again, from Travis Perkins and Howdens Joinery, both of Dragon Lane, Durham. Such sponsorship is hugely important to the Group, in helping to fund both community involvement in the annual Durham Miners’ Gala weekend and the yearly cost of insuring and caring for our banners.

A most welcome grant has also again been received from Durham Miners Association, for help in meeting the cost of bringing a top class brass band up from Yorkshire for the Day.

And a group of local volunteers – all members and supporters of the Banner Group – have raised several hundred pounds, over the last year, by serving meals and refresments at events held at the Community Centre.

Thanks to all of these, for helping to make this year’s Big Meeting an event that all Bowburn families can enjoy with pride!

Free brass band and folk rock concert!

As reported in the latest Bowburn Interchange, this year’s Eve of Gala concert will be FREE! A fantastic programme of brass band and folk-rock music can be enjoyed by all the family, thanks to donations, fund-raising and a grant from Our Big Gig.

The concert, which features Pittington Brass and the folk-rock band, DENNIS, is in Bowburn Community Centre, on Friday 10th July.

Doors open at 6pm.  Bar available from 6.30pm.

Interchange 75 page 1

Big Meeting Day parade route through Bowburn announced

Plans have been announced for this year’s banner parade through Bowburn, before the band and banners – and, of course, residents! – set off for the Miners’ Gala in Durham, on Satruday 11th July.

It will start at about 8.30am in Cavell Drive, in honour of Nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed 100 years ago this October. It will then wind through Robert Terrace, Philip Avenue, Horton Crescent, George Street and Marlene Avenue to Dallymore Drive, stopping several times for the superb Kippax Band to wow households on the way.

Before the parade, the band will play the miners’ hymn, Gresford, near the mining memorial at Bowburn Community Centre.

Buses will leave Dallymore Drive at 9.30am at the latest.  First come first served.  They'll return from the New Inn, Durham, at about 4pm.

Bowburn Banner Group joins Twitter

Bowburn Banner Group has recently opened a Twitter account.

You can also now e-mail us at:

Banners on display – 1.
Saturday 13th –Sunday 14th September 2014
Palace Green, Durham
World War I Commemoration

Bowburn Banner Group has been invited to take part in the DLI Reunion & WWI Commemoration events in Durham, on 13th and 14th September.

DLI Poster

The Centenary Banner will be dispayed on Palace Green, with information about the 1920 Bowburn Miners’ Lodge banner, which uniquely portrayed Nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed in 1915 for assisting the escape from behind enemy lines of Allied servicemen.

                        Cavell display

Both banners are normally on permanent display in Bowburn Community Centgre – as is the Bowburn 1959 NUM lodge banner.

The 1920 banner is too frail to travel.  But the 2006 Centenary Banner includes a Durham Miners’ Gala crowd scene with all Bowburn’s banners.

Banners on display – 2.
Saturday 13th September 2014
Heritage Open Day – Banner Exhibition
Community Access Point, Brick Garth, Easington Lane, DH5 0LE

The 1985 Tursdale NUM Mechanics Banner, which is also normally housed in Bowburn Community Centre, and is paraded every year with the Bowburn banners on Miners’ Gala Day, will take part in the annual H.O.D. banner exhibition. This is being hosted by Elemore Lodge, this year, at Easington Lane.

It is being held at Community Access Point, Easington Lane, on 13th and 14th September 10am – 3pm.

Free Eve of Gala concert

Bowburn Banner Group’s concert on Friday 11th July will be free, thanks to grants from the national music celebrators, Our Big Gig, and from our local County Councillors.

Pittington Brass Band will play the music from “Brassed Off”, the story of a colliery brass band in a village facing pit closure.

                        off pic

Then the Banner Group will proudly introduce yet another foreign brass band “with a difference”! Having previously brought the Ohio State University Alumni band (“The Best Damn Band in the Land”) and then, last year, the wonderful and energetic Italian “BandaKadabra”, this year we’ll be wowed by the all-women band from France, “Bomb’ Zatomic”.

Bomb’ Zatomic

As part of the Durham Brass Festival, Bomb’ Zatomic will then visit Bowburn Infant School, on Monday 14th July.

The concert, at Bowburn Community Centre, will also be the first chance to see 24 new mini-portraits on the Bowburn Centenary Banner, which has been away for repairs.

Admission will be free on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 6pm. Bar available in the Lounge. Performance starts at 7pm. Accompanied children welcome: this will be a show for all the family.

New faces will be on display on 30th June

24 new mini-portraits have been added to Bowburn’s Centenary Banner and will be on display for the first time later this month.

The banner has been in Norfolk, to have minor repairs done by its original producers, Chippenham Designs. While it was there, they added some new faces to the crowd scene on the “March of Time” side of the banner. These will be formally revealed, at Bowburn Community Centre, on Monday 30th June, at 2.30pm.

Among the new portrayals will be those of Jimmy Milburn, who has done so much for the village, not least in donating the coal tub mining memorial as well as many items for the Community Centre’s Heritage Room, and Alfie Swainston, whose daughter, Brenda Collins, the entertainer, has given her time generously to raise money for the Bowburn Banner Group.

The banner will also be on show at the Eve of Gala concert, on Friday 11th July, and, of course, on Big Meeting Day itself, the next day.

Banner Group joins “Our Big Gig”

The Banner Group has been awarded £400 to join the “Our Big Gig” national music celebration, on Durham Miners’ Gala weekend. The funding will help pay for a live brass band music concert as an Eve of Gala event in Bowburn Community Centre – details to follow. With other funding applications in the pipeline, it is hoped that admission to this concert, which is also part of the Durham Brass Festival, will be free.

Howdens Joinery sponsors Bowburn Banner Group

Bowburn Banner Group is most grateful to Howdens Joinery, of Dragon Lane, Durham, for its recent donation. This will be an enormous help in our efforts to raise money to hire a brass band and transport for this year’s Durham Miners’ Gala Day, on Saturday 12th July.

Brenda Collins concert – Friday 25th April

Bowburn’s own local celebrity Brenda Collins (née Swainston) has generously agreed to perhform another fund-raising concert for the Bowburn Banner Group. (THANKS, Brenda – once again!)

The concert will be an “adult” version, at Bowburn Community Centre, on Friday 25th April.

An Eve of Gala brass band event, for all the family, is again being planned for Friday 11th July.

 Brenda Collins Concert 2014

Big Meeting Day 2014

This year’s Durham Miners’ Gala is on Saturday 12th July. (It’s always on the second Saturday in July, these days.)

Bowburn Banner Group is proud to announce that the wonderful Kippax Band will again play our banners through the village, first, and then into Durham. Full details of the route through Bowburn will appear in Bowburn Interchange.

Travis Perkins sponsor Bowburn Banner Group

Bowburn Banner Group is most grateful, once again, to builders’ merchants Travis Perkins, of Dragon Lane, Durham, for its sponsorship. This is an enormous help in our efforts to raise enough money to hire a top class band and transport for Durham Miners’ Gala Day, in addition to covering the regular costs of insuring the group’s banners etc.

Big Meeting Day reports

Reports of the Eve of Gala concert, by the wonderful BandaKadabra, and of the Gala Day celebrations will appear in the September edition of Bowburn Interchange, the village newspaper. To read this, click on the “Interchange” link, above, and go to Past Isuesd.

Kippax brass band to march Bowburn’s banners on Big Meeting Day, Saturday 13th July

The renowned Kippax Band, from Leeds, will again march us through Bowburn and into Durham at this year’s Durham Miners’ Gala. The village parade will start in Burn Street at 8.30am and end at the Mining and War Memorials in Prince Charles Avenue at 9.30am.

For more information, see the June edition of Bowburn Interchange.

Exciting Italian band to play at Eve of Gala family evening

BandaKadabra, from Italy, will perform at Bowburn Community Centre on Friday, 12th July, in our Eve of Gala family concert.  This super-brass ensemble, whose repertoire combines different musical styles and moods, from wild Balkan rhythms to traditional marching themes, Latin and jazz, is appearing as part of the Durham Brass Festival (5th – 21st July) and the national “Our Big Gig” celebration of music, which will see hundreds of music events in communities across UK from 11th – 14th July. It will also do music workshops at Bowburn Infant School and Kelloe Primary School.


The concert will also feature Spennymoor Town Band.

For more information, see the June edition of Bowburn Interchange.

Brass Band joins the Eve of Gala family evening

Spennymoor Town Band have kindly agreed to join us this Friday (13th July).  After the short drama production, “Cry from the Heart”, about Bowburn’s famous Nurse Cavell banner, there will be bingo in the interval and the the Spennymoor Town Band will play some favourite tunes.

Nurse hero drama project gets under way

Thanks to local Councillors and funding from the East Durham Rural Corridor Area Action Partnership (AAP), this exciting drama project is all systems go!

Jack Drum Arts will be working with the local primary schools and two school brass bands, as part of this project.  And a series of rehearsals will be held at either the DJ Evans Youth Club, Burn Street, Bowburn, or Bowburn Community Centre, Durham Road, Bowburn.  These will be for all members of the community (all ages) who’d like to be involved.

Saturday 9th June 10am-12 noon: Devising & casting – Youth Club
Saturday 16th June 10am-12 noon: Rehearsing – Youth Club
Saturday 23rd June 10am-12 noon: Rehearsing – Youth Club
Friday 29th June 6pm-9pm: Rehearsal – Community Centre
Saturday 30th June 10am-4pm: All day rehearsal – Youth Club
Thursday 5th July 4pm-8pm: Band & Technical rehearsal – Community Centre
Saturday 7th July 10am-4pm: Full dress rehearsal with Band – Youth Club
Friday 13th July 2pm- 6pm: Final preparations – Community Centre
Friday 13th July 7.30pm: Performance – Community Centre

Those wishing to join in must be available on the final day. However anyone who’d like to get involved but can’t make all the rehearsals listed should let Jack Drum know, as they can allocate small parts with less responsibility to busy people!

Contact them at:
St Cuthbert’s Centre, Church Hill, Crook, Co Durham, DL15 9DN
Tel: 01388 765002

Nurse hero drama workshop - Bowburn Community Centre - Saturday 21st April 2012

An exciting community drama and music project is under way, about Bowburn’s famous Edith Cavell banner. A performance is planned at Bowburn Community Centre on 13th July, the night before this year’s Miners’ Gala.

Jack Drum Arts will lead a drama workshop for people thinking of being involved. It will be held at Bowburn Community Centre, on Saturday 21st April, from 10am till 12 noon. Everyone is invited – children and young people, parents and grandparents, and everyone interested in our mining heritage.
The Norfolk nurse who became Bowburn’s hero

Nurse Edith Cavell stayed in Belgium when the German army invaded in 1914. A year later she was in prison. She was shot on 12th October 1915. She had helped hundreds of allied servicemen escape from behind enemy lines. Her execution became a rallying call throughout the world, in the war against the Kaiser.
Over 200 men from Bowburn had already volunteered - from little more than 200 households - and more were to follow. Over 50 local men lost their lives before World War I ended in 1918.

In 1920, Bowburn Miners Lodge ordered a fine new silk banner from London, with Edith Cavell’s portrait on one side. It is the only miners’ banner in the country ever to portray an identifiable woman. Was there some special reason, why her heroism was so dear to Bowburn’s miners?

And was this the first Bowburn banner? Or had an earlier one been made, after Nurse Cavell’s death in 1915, by a local pitman painter? Did some people disapprove of this? If so, why?!

Join with Jack Drum to find the answers (and questions) to life!
For further information, ring 01388 765002 or 0191-377-1491

 EC drama workshop flyer

“Celebrating Miners’ Lodge Banners”, Saturday 10th September 2011

For the fifth year running, Bowburn Banner Group is hosting an event, in Bowburn Community Centre, during the national Heritage Open Days weekend in September.  Over 50 banners are expected this year.

View comments from visitors and pictures of some of the banners in earlier years by scrolling down to past news items, below.

 HOD 2011 poster-1

Ohio’s TBDBITL is Gala favourite (Saturday 9th July 2011)

The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni, also known as “The Best Damn Band in the Land”, or TBDBITL, gave a wonderful Eve of Gala concert in Bowburn on 8th July and then wowed the crowds at the Durham Miners’ Gala the next day.

Full story will be in the September edition on Bowburn Interchange. (See

Here is an unusual photograph of the band’s instruments, laid out on the Racecourse on Big Meeting Day.

 Ohio band instruments on Racecourse 2011

“The Best Damn Band in the Land” to give Eve of Gala Concert on Friday 8th July 2011

The amazingly spectacular Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni, also known as “The Best Damn Band in the Land”, or TBDBITL for short, will be leading Bowburn’s banners through the village and into Durham on Big Meeting Day, the Durham Miners’ Gala Day, Saturday 9th July.

The night before that, they will give a special celebratory concert in Bowburn Community Centre.  All 51 members of this huge band will squeeze on to the stage, and 40 of their friends and partners will be in the audience.

This will be a great occasion for the people of Bowburn to meet our American guests, and to enjoy the band’s exciting music.

The “pep band” will also play at the official opening of the new football pitches at Bowburn Park, on the Sunday morning.

More news about the band, and about arrangements for this great weekend, will appear in the June edition of Bowburn Interchange.

 Eve of Gala Concert 2011

“Celebrating Miners’ Lodge Banners”, Saturday 11th September 2010

For the fourth year running, Bowburn Banner Group is hosting an event, in Bowburn Community Centre, during the national Heritage Open Days weekend in September.  Over 40 banners were on display last year, with at least 300 visitors.  This year we hope for more of the same.

(See last year’s news item for comments from visitors and some pictures of the exhibition.)

 HOD 2010 poster

Big Meeting Day, 10th July 2010

Another wonderful Gala Day!

There will be some photographs in September’s edition of Bowburn Interchange.

Here are a few more, thanks to John Attle and Tony Griffiths, or the Durham Photographic Society, and John Smith, of Bowburn.

                        Meeting Day in Bowburn 1 2010

                        Meeting Day in Bowburn 2 2010

 Big Meeting Day in Durham 2010 1

 Big Meeting Day in Durham 2010 2

                        Meeting Day in Durham 2010 3

“Celebrating Miners’ Lodge Banners”, Saturday 12th September 2009

For the third year running, Bowburn Banner Group hosted a successful event in Bowburn Community Centre, during the national Heritage Open Days weekend.  Over 40 banners were on display, with at least 300 visitors.

Here are some of the comments left by some of the 300+ visitors to the 2009 Exhibition:

“A unique event as the public can view the banners closely and see banners too old & frail to be paraded at the Miners’ Gala – A valuable event for the county.”
“Amazing - Important to show & be proud of our mining heritage - especially children (brought my 2-year-old daughter).”
“Best show in town.”
“Better every year.”
“Cultural heritage a symbol to all North East citizens.”
“Fabulous exhibition, showing a very proud heritage which the UK should not forget! Food for thought!”
“I thought it was very good. I would like to come again next year! (Aged 8)”
“It was great fun. Brilliant. I hope they do this again.”
“Keep things going. It’s great to keep the mining memories going.”
“Stunning show. Would like it to be held every year to keep our heritage going.”
“Thank you to everyone for putting this together. The younger generation have a lot to thank these miners for.”
“The exhibition should have been on for more than a day!”
“This has been a very interesting exhibition today. This should be an event for future generations to come.”
“Very good display of banners. Arranged very well for viewing both sides and for photography. Very detailed information displayed with each banner.”
“Very nice to have been. Well organized & people very helpful.”
“Well displayed. Can easily see both sides of all banners. Good label system. Congratulations to all.”
“Well thought out display - Amazing to see so many banners, all so well preserved. Please keep it going.”

Here are some photographs taken at the 2009 exhibition:

                        2009 photo 1

                        2009 photo 2

                        2009 photo 3

                        2009 photo 4

                        2009 photo 5

Big Meeting Day, 11th July 2009

Another wonderful Gala Day!  A good parade through Bowburn.  Excellent band.  Three banners – including the Tursdale NUM Mechanics’ banner, for the first time, as well as Bowburn’s Centenary Banner and Children’s Banner.  The buses into Durham were full (but only just).  And the weather – despite forecasts – was perfect.

Thanks to John Barker for this photograph.

 Big Meeting Day in Bowburn 2009

Free Eve of Gala Entertainment, Friday 10th July 2009

The night before Big Meeting Day (Friday 10th July), thanks to the Club committee, there will be a free evening of entertainment at Crowtrees WM Club, with singer Helen Brown, a “Miners’ Gala” quiz, bingo flyer, free nibbles, raffle etc.  No admission charge: first come, first served.


We are most grateful to Travis Perkins, the Builders’ Merchant at Gilesgate Moor, who have once again donated £200 to the Banner Group.  This is the third year that TP have sponsored us, and we are most grateful.

(If anyone else wants to contribute, though, our total annual costs, including insurance and hiring a band for Big Meeting Day, are about £3,000.  All help welcome!)

Durham Miners’ Gala Day, Saturday 11th July 2009

We will be marched through Bowburn and into Durham for this year’s “Big Meeting” by Fat Al’s Big Band. This unusually named band is a wind band, containing clarinettes and saxophones as well as brass instruments. Most of its players are ex-army bandsman and the band now plays regularly at Territorial Army events. It has played at the Gala many times and has been extremely popular with the crowds.

The parade through Bowburn will begin in Dallymore Drive at 8.30am and then proceed down Marlene Avenue and round George Street, Henry Avenue, Philip Avenue, Prince Charles Avenue and Margaret Court.

A double decker bus will be available to take residents into Durham, from Prince Charles Avenue, at 9.30am, after the band has played by the War Memorial and the coal tub Mining Memorial near the entrance of Prince Charles Avenue. The bus will return from near the New Inn soon after 4.00pm. There will be a return fare of £1 adults and 50p children.

Fishburn Band concert – “Music from Screen and Stage” – Friday 24th April 2009

The Bowburn Banner Group is proud to announce that Fishburn Band will play a concert of “Music from Screen and Stage,” in Bowburn Community Centre, on Friday 24th April.

Fishburn is the nearest Bowburn currently has to a local band and its concerts in the villages have always been popular. However it is not merely local in importance. It has a history of successes at the highest level.

The band:
• has several times won the Durham County Brass Band League contest;
• has had impressive results, over several years, at the Grand Shield contest in Blackpool Winter Gardens;
• was Scottish Open Champions in 2005;
• represented the Northern Area at the Brass Band Championships of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall in 2006, and
• was once again invited to the prestigious All England Masters Contest in June last year, after first being invited in 2002.

The bar will open on 24th April at 7.00pm.  The concert starts at 7.30pm.

Tickets are now on sale at Bowburn Community Centre (0191-377-1491). £3.50 adults and £3.00 concessions and children.

 Fishburn Band poster

Trigger portrait raffle – 11th July 2008

There are still tickets available for the Banner Group’s prize draw.  First prize is a superb oil painting by John Barker but there are many other prizes too.

The draw will be made on Friday 11th July, in the interval during the Ohio Brass Band’s Eve of Gala concert, in Bowburn Community Centre.

Celebrating Miners’ Lodge Banners – Saturday 13th  September 2008

Another superb collection of Durham miners’ lodge banners will be on display in Bowburn Community Centre on Saturday 13th September.

While castles and stately homes open their doors to the public all over the country during this Heritage Open Days weekend, the Bowburn Banner Group and Durham Mining Museum have collected over forty unique banners from around the coalfield. Most of the banners are original 20th Century lodge banners, dating from as far back as the 1920s and ’30s. Many are rarely if ever seen out, because of their frail condition. The exhibition will include, of course, Bowburn’s own four superb old and new banners. Other new community banners and replicas will also be present.

Below are some pictures taken during last year’s Heritage Open Days event.

                        display 2007 1

                        display 2007 2

                        display 2007 3

                        display 2007 4

                        display 2007 5



Bowburn Banner Group is pleased to report recent donations from sponsors Travis Perkins, R&C Builders and Co-operative Funeral Care. Links to both companies’ websites are now on our “links & contacts” web-page. (See above.) Without the help of local businesses, as well as fundrasing, such as the RAFFLE (hint ! – see below), and many individual donations, we would not be able to cover the £2,000+ cost of the “Big Meeting” weekend, let alone the annual running costs of insurance etc.

Thanks also to Northumbrian Water, who are providing free bottles of '97' tap water for the band on Gala Day.

Thanks to everyone who has helped.

Trigger portrait raffle

There are still tickets available for the Banner Group’s prize draw.  First prize is a superb oil painting by John Barker but there are many other prizes too.

The draw will be made on Friday 11th July, in the interval during the Ohio Brass Band’s Eve of Gala concert, in Bowburn Community Centre.

Ohio Brass Band jets in this week

 Ohio Brass Band logo         Excitment is mounting in the lead up to this year’s Miners’ Gala.

The Ohio Brass Band is flying into Manchester this Friday (4th July). The band’s members will arrive in Durham that afternoon and members of Bowburn Banner Group will meet up with them, to welcome them to England.

Their first concert is on Saturday 5th July, in the Gala Theatre, where they will open up for the world-famous Brighouse & Rastric Brass Band. This will mark the launch of the Durham Brass Festival 2008. “Our” band will play two further concerts during the ensuing week – in the University Music Department’s concert hall on Wednesday 9th July and then in BOWBURN COMMUNITY CENTRE on Friday the 11th.  This Eve of Gala celebration will be FREE and it is hoped that Bowburn will give them a hearty welcome.

On Big Meeting Day itself, the band will lead the parade through Bowburn, setting off from behind the Hare & Greyhound at 8.30am. Behind them will be Bowburn’s Children’s Banner and behind that the Centenary Banner. The route – up Surtees Avenue, into Lawson Road, back via Edward Avenue to the Co-op, and from there to the two memorials at the bottom of Prince Charles Avenue – will be closed to traffic for an hour.

Buses will be ready to take all who wish into Durham, from Prince Charles Avenue, at 9.30am. We'll then march from the New Inn, down New Elvet and past the Royal County Hotel on the way to the Racecourse.

At the Royal County, we can expect quite a welcome, as this is the first American band to play there since a US Air Force band played the Tanfield Lodge banner in, in 1961. That was a sensation then, and is still remembered. It would be marvellous if a really good contingent from Bowburn helped make the Ohio Brass Band’s appearance there this year something that will also be remembered with pride for many years to come. BE THERE!

 Ohio Brass Band photo

Back Row (left to right) - Andrew Seymour, Anne Droste, John Shamp, Andy Wolf, Tom Trinter, Richard Scranton
Middle Row - Paul Droste, Steve Bechtel, Carolyn Scott, Randy Smith, Lori Auman-Seymour,
Pat Campbell, Greg Weber, Oliver McGee

Front Row - Patrick Herak, David Mossbarger, Ryan Hanson, John Watkins, Lisa Smith, Tiffany Damicone,
Diana Herak, Diane Gannon, Mike Wier

Ohio Brass Band will play in the Bowburn Banners

The first band from the United States of America to appear at the Durham Miners’ Gala since 1961 will play in the two Bowburn Banners at this year’s “Big Meeting”.

The Bowburn Centenary Banner and the Bowburn Children’s Banner will march proudly behind the Ohio Brass Band, first through Bowburn and then through the City of Durham, on Saturday 12th July 2008.

The parade will assemble near the Hare & Greyhound (but away from the main road) in time to set off at 8.30am. From there it will go up Surtees Avenue to Lawson Road, then back to the Co-op, and down the the two memorials near the entrance to Prince Charles Avenue. Buses will be then available to take people in to Durham at 9.30am.

The night before, on Friday 11th July, the Ohio Brass Band, directed by Paul Droste, will perform at the Eve of Gala Concert, in Bowburn Community Centre. This concert will be by FREE ADMISSION, at the request of the band. Donations for the band will, however, be invited. Doors open at 6.30pm. Bar open from 7.00pm.

More details are in the latest edition of Bowburn Interchange, which is due out during week-beginning 15th June. (A copy can be downloaded from the “Past Issues” page of the Interchanges website.)

Concert Re-union

Notice of the Banner Group’s charity concert on Friday 14th March has been put on the front page of the website.  (Thanks George!)  Full details of venue, times and ticket prices can be seen there.  We are most grateful to local celebrity Brenda Collins, still better known to some as Brenda Swainston, for setting this up.

The concert will bring together The Krack of Dorn, forty years after they first sang together. (If the Spice Girls can do it, then why not Bowburn’s own show group?!) Here is a photograph sent to us by Brenda.

 Krack of Dorn photo

The concert on 14th March will also feature 60s and 70s music from top club entertainers Key Largo, who have also been good supporters of the Bowburn banners. All proceeds will go to the Bowburn Banner Group – not least to help make sure we get a really good band for Bowburn on Miners’ Gala Day this year and beyond.  (News about this year’s band will be announced in the March edition of Bowburn Interchange.)

Conservation award

Sarah Maisey, who assisted with the conservation of Bowburn’s 1920 Edith Cavell banner, reached the last three in this year’s Student Conservator of the Year Award contest.  Although she did not win first prize, her research on the materials used to paint our banner, and on its history, added valuable knowledge about our piece of national heritage.

The latest Conservation Awards 2007 magazine, “Awards Despatch”, carried the following article.

 Conservation Awards article

Please note, though, that we did NOT parade this precious banner at the 2006 Gala! It is on permanent display, properly protected, in Bowburn Community Centre, Durham Road, Bowburn, Durham, DH6 5BB.

Celebrating Miners’ Lodge Banners – Saturday 8th  September

A unique exhibition of Durham miners’ lodge banners was on display in Bowburn Community Centre in September.

While castles and stately homes open their doors to the public all over the country during this Heritage Open Days weekend, the Bowburn Banner Group, with the help of Durham Mining Museum, the National Union of Mineworkers (Durham Area) and numerous banner groups and ex-miners’ lodges, brought together over twenty unique banners from around the coalfield. On display were banners dating from every decade from the 1890s to the 2000s, some rarely if ever seen out, because of their frail condition… including, of course, Bowburn’s own four superb old and new banners.

Admission will be free.  All welcome.  Open from 10.00am till 4.00pm.

Thanks are also due to Durham County Council’s Community Heritage Officer and the City Council’s Heritage Open Days organisers, for their help in making this exciting event possible.

Plans are now underway to organise another such event on Saturday 13th September 2008.

Banner Mugs for sale

The Banner Group has obtained pot mugs showing the four Bowburn banners now in the village: the 1920 Edith Cavell banner, the 1959 Racecourse banner, the 2006 Children’s Banner and the 2006 Centenary Banner.

Priced at £5, they will help raise funds for the annual Durham Miners’ Gala Day celebrations and other Banner Group expenses.

Edith Cavell Banner mugRacecourse Banner mug        Children's Banner mug

                                                                 Centenary Banner mug


Big Meeting celebrations 2007   (updated)

This year’s Durham Miners’ Gala – the Big Meeting – was on Saturday 14th July. Bowburn’s two new banners, which took part for the first time in our centenary year, last year, were again paraded through Bowburn and Durham City.  This must have been the biggest parade for years!

The Shepherd Building Group Brass Band (the former Rowntrees, or “Cocoa”, Band) again came up from York to help us celebrate.  They gave a superb concert in Bowburn Community Centre the night before.  Though the concert was free, the turn-out was disappointing.  We could blame the AWFUL weather, or the date (Friday the 13th!)… but perhaps we should have charged for admission, to “prove” how good the band was?  Those who came certainly enjoyed an excellent evening and they were generous at the raffle and sale-of-goods stalls.  Thank you to all of them. It was good to talk to members of the band, at the bar, afterwards, too.

Earlier in the evening, the free children’s disco was well attended. This is a family weekend and the Banner Group was very pleased at how many children and young people turned out both on this evening and the next day.

Help with the evening’s costs was kindly donated by C&A Pumps. Donations from elsewhere are always welcome, however, to cover the £3,000+ needed for the weekend as a whole. If we are to celebrate on this scale every year, then significant funding needs to be raised.

On the Saturday, the parade assembled in the Crowtrees WM Club car park and set off down the front street at 8.30am. The weather had now totally changed from the night before and there were a LOT of people around as we turned in at the post office (as last year) and marched up to Prince Charles Avenue.  There we diverted slightly, for the band to play at the war memorial, and then proceeded up Bede Terrace (North) and through to Dallymore Drive. The band played at a number of stopping points on the way and was enjoyed by all.

The buses that took us into Durham were free again - though donations were willingly accepted!  Next year we may have to charge fares.

In Durham, we set off from the New Inn, at the top of Church Street, at about 10.00am, and marched with our banners and our band down New Elvet, towards the Royal County Hotel and then to the Racecourse.  There were HUGE crowds this year.  The best since the 1970s, we thought.  (Will they have to start boarding up the shop windows again, we wonder, because of the crush?!)  The “Bowburn March” was played in front of the Royal County balcony and got a great reception.

On the Racecourse, we managed again to get the spot where Bowburn’s banner always used to be “parked”, before the pit closed. Excellent!  Then we went our various ways to enjoy the fun fair, the speeches or the pubs, depending on our inclinations.  Most of us visited the Durham Photographic Society’s display in the large Refreshments Tent, which included an exhibition of photographs of the Bowburn banners and Bowburn people taken in 2006. What a talented lot they are – the photographers, that is, though so of course are the people of Bowburn!

The banner was lifted form the Racecourse at 3.00pm and we proceeded slowly through the crowds back down Old Elvet and up the hill to the buses.  An excellent day!

Other forthcoming events  (updated)

Saturday 8th September:  “Celebrating Miners’ Lodge Banners”, in Bowburn Community Centre.  A large number of miners’ lodge banners, both originals and replicas, plus community banners created in that proud tradition, will be on display as part of the Civic Trust’s national Heritage Open Days weekend.  They are expected from all over the Durham coalfield, together with members of the various banner groups, now growing in number.

Forthcoming:  Brenda Collins concert, in Bowburn Community Centre.  Bowburn’s own celebrity singer and comedienne is returning “home” for this special concert, in support of the Banner Project.  Date to be arranged.

Earlier Bowburn Banner Group News

Fishburn Band concert and Bowburn Junior School  (May 2007)

The award-winning Fishburn Band played for the Banner Group again in Bowburn Community Centre on Friday 4th May.  They gave a first class concert.

During the interval, special editions of the score of “The Bowburn March” – composed by Ray Farr, specially to mark last year’s centenary celebrations – were presented to Bowburn Library and to Bowburn Junior School.  It is hoped that, in years to come, children at the school who are learning to play brass instruments will be able to play this rousing number, or join in when it is played by an adult band.  (Who knows – might Bowburn one day have its own brass band?)

Thanks are due to all concerned – to the Band itself, and to Carrie and others at the Centre, for making the evening go so well.

Thanks too to members of Durham Photographic Society, for helping us to build further on our records of Banner Group events.  Some excellent examples can be seen on: John Gordon’s photos of the Fishburn Band concert

There will be an exhibition of the Durham Photographic Society’s photos of the Bowburn banners at the Miners’ Gala on Saturday 14th July.  Make sure you look out for their tent and visit them.

Travis & Perkins offer sponsorship  (May 2007)

Travis Perkins, a leading company in the builders’ merchanting and home improvement markets, has generously offered to sponsor the Bowburn Banner Group.  This is a big boost to the Group, which faces high annual costs to cover insurance, band hire, transport and road closures on Big Meeting Day.

Photographic record of Bowburn’s Centenary Banner  (December 2006)

Friday 15th December:  Video and photographic displays about the Bowburn Centenary Banner and the 2006 Durham Miners’ Gala, Bowburn Community Centre, 12.00 noon till 9.00pm.

This will include a large number of photographs, taken at every location and from every angle throughout the day (including inside the Cathedral) by members of the Durham Photographic Society.  There will also be a variety of slideshows, on two screens.

Attendance at the evening session of this exhibition will be restricted to those joining in the end-of-year Centenary festivities with the Big Bush Band.  (Get your ticket now!)

The Edith Cavell Banner is now on display in Bowburn  (September 2006)

A wonderful welcome was given to the return of the Edith Cavell Banner on Friday 8th September.  This is the banner that was believed lost for ever but then (in 2005) found to have been rescued by Arthur Moyes, author of the first Banner Book about Durham Miners' banners in the 1970s.

The banner had been reduced to two large fragments by the time he acquired it – the central panels, with portraits of Nurse Edith Cavell on one side and John Wilson MP on the other, and the top part, with "Durham Miners Association" and "Bowburn Lodge" on.  These have now been cleaned and carefully sewn on to a back cloth (with the John Wilson side hidden), to look like the original banner.  (Thanks are again due, for this, to the excellent support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.)

The banner is now installed in the second marvellous banner case, designed and produced by Mr. John Johnson, in Bowburn Community Centre.

Its welcome included a fantastic concert by the Fishburn Band, with guest singer Brenda Collins, which was greatly enjoyed by an audience of nearly 200.  The banner itself was unveiled by Arthur Moyes himself.

Centenary Banner on parade  (September 2006)

On Sunday 17th September, Bowburn’s new Centenary Banner joined its first parade outside Bowburn since the Big Meeting.  It was marched proudly with ten other banners and the Craghead Band to the New Herrington mining memorial, where an impressive service took place.

No less than three further outings are now lined up.  Any one who would like to join members of the Banner Group would be most welcome, though some might need to bring their own cars.

On Saturday 7th October, we are going to the Thomas Hepburn Memorial Service at Heworth Church.  The service starts at 11.00am and those going with the banner will meet at Bowburn Community Centre at 9.45am.

On the same day, in the afternoon, we’re going to join the Houghton Feast.  The parade starts at 2.30pm and some may be meeting at Bowburn Community Centre at 1.30pm but that depends whether everyone who is going to this parade will just go straight on from Heworth.
Then, a week later, on Sunday 14th October, we have been invited to join a parade and service in Wingate, to mark the 100th anniversary of the disaster at Wyngate Colliery (14th October 1906), when 26 men were killed.  Those going are invited to meet at Bowburn Community Centre at 9.00am.

Date of next Banner Group meeting

Please ask for details of the next ordinary meeting from the Secretary on 0191-377-1491.

Can you help us?

Did you carry the banner?  Did your father or grandfather?  (We’d like to compile as complete a list as possible of all those who did, and when, as well as record memories of those occasions.)

Did you work at the Colliery, or did your father or other relative?

Do you have any special memories of the Big Meeting when Bowburn Colliery was still working?

If so, please contact us via the contact page or ring the above number.  All other queries and information are welcome.