Blow for town as gala is scrapped

A POPULAR town gala planned for August has been cancelled after organisers agreed there were too few of them to make it viable.It looked as if the Leiston Gala had been saved after a crunch meeting earlier this year attracted scores of new volunteers, and preparations were under way.

By Sarah Chambers

A POPULAR town gala planned for August has been cancelled after organisers agreed there were too few of them to make it viable.

It looked as if the Leiston Gala had been saved after a crunch meeting earlier this year attracted scores of new volunteers, and preparations were under way.

But the gala committee has now reluctantly decided to abandon the event - due to be held on August 28 - and has informed those involved.


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Committee secretary Michael Weall said the difficult decision was taken because although they had lots of offers of help on the day, they felt the core of around five people involved in organising the event was just too few.

"We got more people on board, but we didn't get people who could help with the organisation of it and there's a big difference," he explained.

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"We have got five of us doing the work and it was too much for five."

The decision was "taking a while to sink in" among those involved in the event, he admitted.

"The committee are gutted, but we had to make that decision," he said.

"At the final meeting I think there were two of us there but we had spoken to the rest of the committee and we knew where we were going."

The event, which is in its seventh year, has looked in doubt before, only to be saved.

Last year, it looked as though it would not happen after committee numbers plummeted, but the town rallied round and the gala went ahead, attracting around 3,000 people.

However, organisers yesterday issued a statement which said: "Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control the Leiston Gala will not be taking place this year or for the foreseeable future.

"We would like to thank all past and present committee members for their help and support."

Mr Weall added that as well as a lack of organisers, the event faced rising costs, including a hike of around 17% this year in insurance costs.

"The core members who had been there since last year were really losing heart because they were doing too much," he said.

"It's a fairly big town. Everybody likes coming to these events, but nobody likes doing their bit to make sure it'll go ahead."

He continued: "I spoke to all the committee members and none of them wanted to finish it but none of them could see how they could go forward as they were," he said.

"That's it for this year. It's off. It's definitely not going ahead. It's a shame because it's a good day out."

A bingo event in aid of the gala, which was due to take place on July 13, has also been cancelled.

However, a VE Day dance at the Constitutional Club in Leiston on June 4 is still set to go ahead. It will now be in aid of Mingles in Saxmundham.

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