Durham Miners Gala 2023

About The Project

In 2023, Lizzie Lovejoy was invited by Redhills (Durham Miners Institute) to work with Sacriston Youth And Community Project [SYCP] on a creative programme of activity which would lead to a performance on the stage at The Big Meeting.

Investigating into the archives, Lizzie poured through slogans, headlines and quotes to learn about the words lingering in our heritage. The young people (8-12 years old) of SYCP, lead by Lizzie, created and co-wrote a series of poems focused on the miners strikes, miners work and mining language.

Lizzie was also commissioned to create a range of illustrartions and animatics for presentation on the screen and in an accessible zine/booklet.

Inspired by the young people, Lizzie wrote a small collection of poems as well. Four young people from the SYCP read their written works on stage in front of 5000 people, followed by Lizzie Lovejoy's performance.


Since we were small

We were told all

About what culture is, who it's for,

Who can make it and exactly what door

Will keep it from the grubby palms

Of working class children, its only for the calm

Collected, respectable gents...

Well, one day I hope they repent,

Cause their white box rooms

With marble, oils and tapestries on looms

Are a limited view.

Yes, culture can be wonderfully old, but also new,

It's in our shoreline factories

And actually

We embody culture,

We live culture

Breathe and exist as culture,

Rich, loud and glorious,

It's euphoria!

Each working class hand

Has the right to demand

A place in heritage, because we create it

Dish it up and plate it,

In lemon tops, parmos and sausage rolls.

So I will stand and take up my role

As part of culture.


On Whose Shoulders

Lizzie created a poem for Durham Miners Gala 2023 entitled: On Whose Shoulders. It focuses on honouring the experiences & stories of the miners who formed our local heritage which also celebrating the young people who will build our future.

On whose shoulders do we stand?

On those with the calloused hands.

The foundations of our past

were laid by the working-class

with this torch that they pass

There is a future to build

and we will

The wheel now stands still

but we could never

with thousands of feet marching together

and a war of words, weapons at the ready,

sure and steady

one brick at a time.

On whose shoulders do we stand?

The shoulders of mothers,

of fathers and brothers

not those of giants

but what they did was giant

bold and defiant 

with nothing to lose but chains

a proud heritage remains.

On your shoulders we build,

we always rise with each attempt to be killed,

unity is strength and we have the might

sometimes you must fight

for what’s right

and we follow the example of who came before

because isn’t that what it’s all for?

On the shoulders of Northern lads and lasses,

No rose tinted glasses

it was grime and muck and labour

it was knowing your neighbour

working side by side

to provide

for families. For Home.

For our own. 

The past we inherit. And we give it respect.

Those shoulders had so many people to protect.

The future we build, with childrens palms

they have all the pieces tucked under their arms

the youth of today will lead tomorrow,

and from the Pitmens strength we borrow.

We are more than

We are northern 

We are culture, we are all

We deserve to stand up tall

Unity is strength! We shall not forget.

March ever onwards without regret

Thank you for your calloused hands

It is on your shoulders that we stand.

The Young People (Poems 1, 3, 4, 5, 6)

The Newspaper Archives

Sacriston Youth and Community Project