View Full Version : Resignation of gala members casts doubt on festival

24-Mar-11, 19:37
Wick gala set to fold unless crunch meeting produces new blood

WICK’s annual festival, gala week, seems certain to fold, if it doesn’t get sufficient volunteers to run it.
The shock warning was sounded by chair-woman Lorna Ross, this week, after only six people turned up at the AGM- five of these, were serving members-and she made it clear she wasn’t scaremongering.
The organisers have struggled in vain, for many years to attract new blood and the crunch came at the meeting in the town’s Assembly Rooms when Mrs Ross, and the other chief office bearers, tendered their resignations, leaving three committee members.
Now, an extraordinary general meeting has been called for 7pm, on March 29, to give Wickers a last chance to save the popular festival which is steeped in tradition having taken over the reins from the Herring Queen Festival in the early fifties.
Mrs Ross, who has been chair for the past 17 galas, said it would be “a shame” to see the festival end, as it was a popular attraction which brought people into the town and gave them the chance to enjoy themselves, and raise money for the good of the royal burgh, at the same time.
However she stressed: “This is not a situation where, come the EGM the existing office bearers and some committee members will, if no support is forthcoming, change their minds and struggle on. The resignations won’t be withdrawn and, at this moment in time, the committee numbers three and you really need about 20 to run the gala.”
Mrs Ross continued: “Those who have been involved, over the years, have done more than their fair share – I think they must have more than 100 years service between them. It’s been a lot of hard work, but, like all the folk who come along to the various attractions, they have enjoyed it. But the time has come for younger, more energetic folks, with new ideas, to step up and take the gala forward.”
Mrs Ross paid tribute to committee members for their loyal service to the gala and appealed to townspeople to respond accordingly. Other long-serving stalwarts calling it a day, are treasurer Janice Campbell, Heather Miller, secretary, and minutes secretary, Heather Martin.
Mrs Ross said: “I cannot stress enough that we are not scaremongering. If people don’t come forward on the 29th, Wick’s gala days will be over. It’s not use complaining when that happens. If you want the gala, then you have to do something, now. It’s as simple as that.”
Mrs Ross took the opportunity to set the record straight regarding the status of Wick Town Improvements and the present organisation, Wick Gala Committee.
She said that WTI still exists and will continue to do so until its financial affairs are concluded and it receives all money due to it – including the balance of £22,000 embezzled by the then treasurer, Karen Spruce who is repaying the money- and settles outstanding bills.
Mrs Ross added: “Only then, will WTA be formally wound up”.