Association gets a new president.
Byline: MIKE KELLY Reporter email@example.com @MikeJKelly1962
FORMER pitman Alan Mardghum has been chosen as the person to lead the Durham Miners' Association (DMA).
The 63-year-old said he was "proud and humbled" to begin work in the new joint role of President/Secretary of the organisation, which was founded in 1869. He will oversee efforts to secure a successful future for both the Durham Miners' Gala, and Redhills, Durham Miners' Hall, as well as continue the DMA's work to provide advice, support and representation for its members. Mr Mardghum said: "I am very proud and humbled to have this opportunity to represent Durham's miners - something very close to my heart.
"The Durham miners made a massive contribution not just to our region, but to our country. We will continue and strengthen our deep connections with our communities as we work to ensure the Durham miners have a legacy we can all be proud of, and which will serve generations to come."
The DMA, now in its 150th year, has launched The Redhills Appeal, the campaign to secure the future of its historic home, Durham Miners Hall, as a centre for education, heritage, and culture.
It also hosts the Durham Miners' Gala, which is Europe's biggest celebration of community and trade union values, and workingclass culture. Following the closure of the collieries, the DMA established the Friends of Durham Miners' Gala to fund the event.
Mr Mardghum worked as a miner at Wearmouth Colliery for 16 years from 1977 until December 1993 when it closed, and was active in the Wearmouth Lodge of the DMA throughout. He joined the lodge committee in 1979, before becoming the financial secretary in 1981. He succeeded Dave Hopper as lodge secretary when the latter was elected as General Secretary of the DMA in 1985, and served on the executive committee of the DMA and as the union's delegate to national conferences.
Following redundancy as a miner, he became a welfare benefits advice worker. He then served as a probation services officer for 12 years.
He succeeds former DMA Secretary Alan Cummings, who retired last month on grounds of ill health, and former chairman Joe Whitworth, who retired from his post earlier this year.
Mr Mardghum, who began work yesterday in his new role, said: "We thank Alan and Joe for their service to the DMA and wish them both the very best in their retirement."
Alan Mardghum in the Committee Room at Redhills: Durham Miners' Hall