Help calls for under-threat village parade

Thornton gala parade is under threat once again.
Thornton gala parade is under threat once again.
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Organisers of a traditional Wyre gala have been told that help is at hand after they said a shortage of volunteers could again force the cancellation of this year’s parade.

Last year’s Thornton Gala procession had to be cancelled due to a shortage of residents willing to marshal the roads after Lancashire Police said it could no longer afford to provide officers to do the job.

Now the gala committee has issued an urgent plea for people to come forward and offer to help in an effort to stop history repeating itself ahead of this year’s 114th gala on Saturday, June 14.

Committee member Paul Diver, whose daughter Caitlin, 10, is this year’s Gala Queen, said: “If there are not enough people then the gala committee will have no alternative but to cancel the parade and leave a lot of young girls broken-hearted, including my daughter.

“The retiring Queen and Princess will again be unable to continue the great tradition of going round the town showing off their dresses and floats to the local community which would be a huge shame.

“Unless we can find more volunteers the main gala event could also end up being under threat in future because the parade is such a big part of it.”

Caitlin, who attends Stanah Primary School, said: “I’m really excited about becoming the Gala Queen and I’d be disappointed if I was unable to take part in the parade if it is cancelled again.

“I would like people to volunteer to help because we all want a parade this year.”

Organisers are calling on anyone willing to offer their time to attend an emergency meeting at 7.30pm next Thursday at The Ashley social club on Victoria Road.

And Kevin Clutton, who has organised the Preesall and Knott End Gala Day for 18 years, said residents from other areas, including himself, could be willing to lend a hand.

He has joined a new Local Event Organisers’ Network set up by Wyre Council to enable gala and event organisers to meet with council staff to share support and resources.

“The idea now is that volunteers throughout this area could provide mutual assistance at each other’s events,” said Mr Clutton. “We helped out at Hambleton and Pilling last year and we are hoping they might help us if we get stuck.

“I would be happy to help Thornton out if I’m not working and I’m sure other people would be too. Different areas working together has to be the way forward.”

Mr Clutton said that although more volunteers were needed for the Preesall and Knott End Gala Day on Saturday, July 12, it would take place as planned, and several other organisers of the galas and carnivals at Fleetwood, Lytham and St Annes confirmed their events would go ahead while acknowledging the new burden on their communities.

Wyre Council is holding an informal training session for event volunteers in March covering stewarding, traffic management plans and carrying out assessments required to get public liability insurance.

Call (01253) 887564 for details.


Dates and places for this year’s Fylde gala events

Poulton Gala - Saturday, June 7

Thornton Gala - Saturday, June 14

Fleetwood Carnival - Saturday, June 21

Lytham Club Day - Saturday, June 28

Hambleton Gala Day - Saturday, July 5

St Annes Carnival - Saturday, July 12

Preesall and Knott End Gala Day - Saturday, July 12

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