After a week of heavy rainfall, Blantyre was truly blessed on Saturday 27th June, for the whole day, when the sun came out on one of the warmest days of the year. Blantyre Summer Gala was attended by an estimated crowd of around 3,000 people but at the peak of the afternoon, may have been more!
A Summer colours parade of 400 people left from the Miner Welfare just after 11am and walked the short distance down to David Livingstone Centre, meeting up with the 8 children forming the Royal Pageant. The whole procession led into the park, which was even by 11.30am, very busy. Entry was free, and despite some parking issues, a fun, family day out was had by all, with sports races, inflatables and the cafe selling hot food, proving popular. Live music was provided by local band, The Naked Feedback, proving a hit with crowds and the beer tent nearby was packed out all day.
Happy, smiling faces to be seen everywhere as the crowds enjoyed the fairground and large market, with over 50 stalls. The event was hosted by Blantyre Community Committee and National Trust, making use of their facilities. The unexpected sunshine took a few people by surprise but the Committee’s first aid station responded responsibly by providing sun block from midday onwards.
I was selling Blantyre Project books at my stall and managed to raise £100, which together with the £105 raised in the Blantyre Telegraph newspaper, will see a cheque going to The Haven of £205!
A Committee spokesperson said, “The whole day was a resounding success. We are quite overwhelmed by the amount of positive comments congratulating the organisers for their efforts. Families on picnic rugs scattered over the whole grounds, in a return to the old days when such crowds once visited the centre. Children just loved it, with face painting proving popular. Some balloons and streamers were handed out for free. The tombola and hot food sales has meant that a sum was raised which will be entirely devoted towards going to the town’s festive event, which this year will be larger than ever. We would like to thank residents in nearby Station Road for their patience and understanding, and also to the many, many volunteers who manned our stalls, assisted in the cafe and helped clear up afterwards. Every piece of litter was cleared before the Committee and National Trust staff left the grounds.”
Enjoying the late afternoon sunshine, the beer tent stayed open until 6pm, whilst the cleanup operation took place, with Marion Robertson achieving the accolade of being “the last person to leave the bar”.
Social media has today been swamped with positive comments:
Colette Barret told us, “Great time had by all, well done absolutely fantastic!”
Kevin Duffy added, “Great time kids are nackered brill”
Stephen Crowe said, Even met our MP there today enjoying the festivities, great day – here’s hoping for more of the same in years to come!”
Blantyre Community Committee hope to host the event again each year, building on the successes of this event and addressing any feedback that is received. Well done to everybody attending for making the day such a success! Photos by P Veverka.