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Loanhead Community Development Association
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Page updated 18th March 2020

Due to the current Coronavirus and, in particular, Government guidance on mass gatherings, limiting social contact and that we should anticipate current restrictions remaining in place for some months, the diary will remain emtpy until further notice. We felt it important to include a statement issued 18th March 2020 by Loanhead Gala Committee.

In view of the current situation with Coronavirus and, in particular, Government guidance on mass gatherings, limiting social contact and that we should anticipate current restrictions remaining in place for some months, Loanhead Gala Committee has decided it will not be possible to proceed with the Children’s Gala Day on 20 June 2020 or any of our other events which had been due to take place between now and then.

The Gala Committee does however intend to treat this as a postponement and not a complete cancellation for 2020. We are anxious to ensure that the children already selected as our Queen and Court for 2020 and their families are not deprived of their big day. We also feel that, in the current exceptional and extremely challenging circumstances, everyone in the town needs something to look forward to. In a year which looks set to be devoid of events, entertainment and holidays, the benefits and sheer enjoyment which the Gala brings to the whole community will be needed more than ever. We therefore intend to proceed as follows:-
Re-scheduled Date for Gala Day

The Gala Day will be provisionally re-scheduled for Saturday 5 September 2020. This new date is of course entirely dependent on how the Coronavirus outbreak develops and we can of course only proceed if it is considered safe to do so. In this respect we shall continue to be guided by the advice issued by the UK and Scottish governments. A final decision on whether or not we can proceed on 5 September will be taken around one month ahead of that date.
If we are able to proceed on Saturday 5 September, we shall endeavour to present a Gala Day as close as possible to our traditional model, with the Crowning Ceremony on stage at Fountain Green, the processions, the afternoon sports and entertainment in the Memorial Park, the fairground and decorated houses. It is difficult to say how many of the bands, entertainers and others currently booked for 20 June will be available for the new date, but hopefully many of them will be able to join us on the re-scheduled date.

Court Rehearsals and Jockeys
For the Queen and Court, a new schedule of rehearsals will be circulated. It is likely there will be fewer rehearsals than is normally the case and these will take place in the period from mid August. For the children selected as Jockeys, hopefully it will prove possible for the riding lessons to take place over the school summer holiday period. Further information will be circulated direct to the parents of Court members and Jockeys in due course.

Gala Week Events
With sunset times rather earlier than is the case in June, it is unlikely that we will be able to stage any outdoor events on evenings in the week ahead of Saturday 5 September. We may however seek to stage some of the usual Gala Week events on the preceding weekend of 29 and 30 August. This may allow us to stage popular events such as the Fun Run and the Novelty Dog Show.

Programme Advertising & Court Messages
We shall endeavour to produce and distribute the usual programme ahead of the re-scheduled date of 5 September. In view of the uncertainty over when and if a programme will be issued and also in recognition of the tremendous support given to the Gala over many years by the local business community, the Committee has agreed that all adverts in any programme we might be able to produce this year will appear free of charge. We recognise the serious challenges that many local businesses will face as a result of the current emergency and this is a gesture of support which we hope will help in some small way. As always, we encourage all residents to shop locally and support local businesses wherever possible.

The amended deadline for programme advertising copy is now 30 June 2020. For businesses which have already booked advertising space in this year’s programme, we can either refund payments made or treat the payment as a pre-payment for the 2021 programme. The amended deadline for Court greetings messages in the programme is also now 30 June 2020. In the event we are ultimately unable to produce a programme this year, all payments made for these messages will be refunded.

Mini Floats & Gala Scarecrow Trail
We realise that many families will be seeking activities to help pass the time in the months ahead. With this in mind, we are introducing two new features which can be produced over the summer months in readiness for the Gala festivities. The first is an invitation to design and build a mini float to take part in the Gala procession. This can be based on any non-motorised vehicle of any size. This could include a bicycle, a wheelbarrow, any form of trolley or trailer. Any trailer can be pulled in the procession by a car or van if desired. The second involves the creation of a figure to your own design which would be placed in your front garden in the week ahead of 5 September as part of a Scarecrow Trail and to supplement the bunting and other decorations. Further details of these two projects will follow.

Fallback Position
If the situation with Coronavirus continues for longer than is perhaps currently anticipated, resulting in our being unable to proceed with an event on 5 September, we shall then seek to stage the Crowning Ceremony at an indoor venue later in the year. Hopefully, that will not be necessary, but we shall certainly do everything we can to ensure Loanhead crowns a Queen in 2020.

Fundraising Events & Patrons
The Race Night scheduled for Friday 27 March obviously cannot now take place. We do however intend to stage this event later in the year. Thanks to those who have sponsored races and purchased horses and tickets for this event. Please watch out for the re-arranged date for this event and give it your full support as and when it does take place.
Other fundraising events due to take place between now and June have been cancelled. This will certainly result in financial challenges for the Gala this year. We are particularly grateful for the support of our Gala Patrons who have been continuing to make their contributions despite the current emergency and resultant uncertainty over this year’s events. New members of the Patrons Scheme are always welcome and such support would be particularly appreciated this year. Please get in touch for information on how to become a Patron.

In Conclusion
We feel sure everyone will understand that it is impossible to stage our famous annual celebrations in June this year. We are however doing our very best to ensure that Loanhead will still be able to enjoy some form of Gala this year. There will be very considerable challenges in re-arranging everything for a new date but hopefully, with the full backing of the community, we can pull this off.

In deciding on our course of action, we recall previous instances in the long history of Loanhead Children’s Day when difficult circumstances have been overcome. In many communities it took several years following the end of the First World War before local festivals were resumed. In Loanhead however, the event, in a modified form, was staged in summer 1918 before the War had even ended.

In 1926 many events throughout the country were cancelled due to the General Strike, a lengthy miners’ dispute and a general economic depression. In Loanhead however it was decided to carry on as the problems were not the fault of the children and sufficient funds were collected to allow this to happen, despite the majority of the local working population suffering considerable hardship. In the summer of 1940 the country was under threat of invasion and the Battle of Britain was taking place. Loanhead however still crowned our School Queen. We are confident the community of Loanhead will rise to the challenge of the current emergency, just as previous generations have done.

For further information, please contact:-
Anne Allard (Court & Jockeys)
Alan McLaren (Programme Advertising, Court Messages & Patrons Scheme)
Ross Perfect (Programme Advertising & Race Night)