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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee helps Kirkby Gala to strike gold

ORGANISERS of an annual gala are thanking the Queen for the success her Jubilee brought this year’s event.

Kirkby Gala, which normally takes place on the first Saturday in July, was moved to Monday in honour of Her Majesty’s 60 years on the throne.

And the change in date, a glorious day of sunshine plus the community’s enthusiasm for the Jubilee celebrations proved a winning combination, as crowds packed out the grounds at Beckside to enjoy the spectacle.

The increase in numbers was reflected by the level of participation in the British Open Fell Runner Association’s races, with a record number of 55 runners entering the men’s senior event.

Kirkby Community Centre holds the event as its main annual fundraiser.

Roger Rushton, one of the organisers, said: “I think it will have made more money than usual, thanks to the Queen.

“We got a much bigger crowd than we usually do.

“The beer tent sold out twice, we had to go for more supplies.

“We were very pleased.”

Monday’s gala, funded by CGP publications in Broughton, was the culmination of a weekend of Jubilee events organised by Kirkby Parish Council, the festivities being the brainchild of Councillor Michael McPherson.

On Friday, the village schoolchildren put on a 1950s dance show in the marquee, and Lady Cavendish attended to present every child with a commemorative Jubilee medal created and donated by Burlington Slate.

On Saturday a tea dance was hosted for Kirkby’s more mature residents, while Sunday saw special church services held as a mark of respect to the Queen and her six decades of service.

Monday’s gala featured a marquee decked out with bunting and a life-sized cut-out of the Queen, which was full of stalls from local organisations, history groups and the Kirkby Photographic Society.

Children enjoyed magic displays, a Punch and Judy show and fun sports, including three-legged races and tugs of war.

Events were brought to a close with a bang that evening, when more than 400 people flocked to a £1,000 firework party, bonfire and hog roast with music from live band, Oddsox.

The night-time activities were a special addition to the annual gala in honour of the jubilee.

Mr Rushton said: “It was really good, everybody had a great time.

“The fireworks were wonderful.”

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