Many of us remember a time when floats featured in gala parades. It’s something which doesn’t happen much at all now in Blantyre, yet is still flourishing in other parts of Lanarkshire.
In Summer 1967, Mr George Greenhorn, President of the YMCA felt it necessary to address complaints from members of the public who took to writing to local newspapers about the “lack of floats” in parades.
The YMCA had good reason to be defensive about this for as volunteers they had made every effort to find as many participants as possible. In 1967, only Robertsons of Springwells and the YMCA themselves had floats, which made for a very short parade.
However, the YMCA pointed out they had written to all schools, all uniformed organisations, kirk groups and youth fellowships asking that they enter the spirit of community by providing a decorated float. George explained that the only school to provide float between 1961 and 1967 was David Livingstone Memorial Primary School and a good response from Stonefield Parish Guides.
The YMCA had hoped in the early 60’s to build a growing parade to rival Lanimers in Lanark (a tall order!) but had been disappointed in the apathy and lethargy of the people who were contacted. George went on to provide a warning, that if such apathy about floats and community involvement continues, there was every chance that floats would disappear altogether from Gala functions.
Floats did continue in Gala days throughout the 70s into the 80s, but were never on the scale of unending, lengthy processions that exists even to this day in Lanark.
Pictured are some Blantyre Gala Floats in 1981.
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:
Iain Mcmillan Health and safety would not allow this today
Mary-Jane Greenhorn We took part in the strathaven gala this year and there were lots of floats. Quite a procession with different clubs and many different themes.
Margaret Liddle What a shame I used to like watching the floats