No alternative but to cancel historic Leslie gala

Leslie Gala Day has always proved popular
Leslie Gala Day has always proved popular

Organisers of a popular children’s gala say they are “distraught” at having to cancel this year’s event because of a lack of volunteers.

The small number of members involved in Leslie Community Trust, who work throughout the year to put on the town’s annual gala and parade, say they have been left with no alternative because they don’t have enough people to physically run the event.

I’m distraught at having to take this decision but, with just not enough volunteers, we had no alternative

Terry Kirk

Terry Kirk, chairman of the trust, said he “agonised” over the decision to cancel one of the region’s most popular galas, which attracts thousands of people and has grown in size in recent years.

“I’m distraught at having to take this decision but, with just not enough volunteers, we had no alternative,” said Mr Kirk.

“The event takes a year to organise. Licences must be applied for, police, health and safety, first aid and insurance must be organised and that’s before we get to the rides and events, which all need to be booked and catered for.

“Every year, we have made up around 500 children’s goodie bags, which has taken a lot of organising, and with the lack of members, it’s just become too much to take on.”

But Mr Kirk insists the move is just a temporary one to give time for the trust to appeal for more volunteers.

“We resurrected the gala 10 years ago after a 25-year absence and, while it’s a sad move to cancel this year, it will allow us to consolidate and hopefully come back bigger and stronger next year,” he explained.

He also thanked the many sponsors who had shown their continued support of the event and said the plan was now to form a gala sub-committee, with a view to getting the gala back up and running in time for next year.

“We’ll be back, make sure of that,” added Mr Kirk.

Town gala enjoyed by countless generations

Gala events in Leslie stretch back over a century, with The Green a regular stop-off for the annual travelling shows and markets.

Traditionally, the Back Braes area of the town was also popular for large community events playing host to sports days and carnivals.

After 25 years without a gala, Leslie Community Council resurrected the town’s gala a decade ago. Leslie Community Trust has taken that on in recent times.

Anyone wanting to get involved or offer their support can do so by going to Leslie Community Trust