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New-look Framlingham Gala Fest hailed a success after big crowds enjoy bank holiday fun

PUBLISHED: 16:11 28 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:57 28 May 2018

A mother and son have a go at being Punch and Judy  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A mother and son have a go at being Punch and Judy Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

A relaunched bank holiday highlight has proved a hit with the crowds – after hundreds turned out for three days of fun in the Suffolk sun.

Jane Wilson in the sunshine  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJane Wilson in the sunshine Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The new-look Framlingham Gala Fest sought to create a more inclusive event by making many attractions free to attend – and offering a wider selection of musical entertainment.

Tim Scotchmer, chairman of Framlingham Sports Club’s Gala Committee, who proposed the changes, said he was “very pleased” with the result.

Maureen Rose getting into the 'flower power' theme  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMaureen Rose getting into the 'flower power' theme Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“The turn out has been great and the weather has been very kind to us,” he added.

“There are people singing, dancing and having a great time – and it’s going to continue into the evening.”

A little girl joins the swing dancers  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA little girl joins the swing dancers Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr Scotchmer said he decided to re-launch the gala after dwindling visitor numbers at recent events.

“I’ve been part of Framlingham all my life, my father was a founding member of the sports club and I got the chairmanship of the gala committee a couple of years ago,” he added.

Swing dancers got the crowds going  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSwing dancers got the crowds going Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“After last year’s gala I thought, it’s not working, something’s not right.

“We had all these big green spaces laying empty when people should have been enjoying themselves.

Jane Wilson and John Farr having a dance in the sunshine  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJane Wilson and John Farr having a dance in the sunshine Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“So I put a plan together stuck my head above the parapet and got on with it.

“This year we’ve changed the format, put more music on and made it free entry to the meadow – and the vibe’s been great throughout.

Wayne and Lilia Read enjoying the Gala  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNWayne and Lilia Read enjoying the Gala Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“We’ve had so much support from business in the local area – they’ve been marvellous and we couldn’t have done it without them.”

The event kicked off on Saturday with a duathlon entered by 37 teams of three – including one whose combined age was 170 years.

During the afternoon and into the evening, local bands played before crowds of up to 400 people at Castle Meadow, where there were also stalls, rides and attractions.

The musical entertainment continued into Sunday with acoustic acts performing beside the pond, which is next to the Castle Inn pub. Other attractions on Saturday included a craft fair at St Michael’s Church Rooms.

Today’s gala parade, which is always a focus of the event on its final day, had a “flower power” theme.

Mr Scotchmer said it created a “noisy, bright and colourful” atmosphere – and bumper crowds as well as entrants.

He hopes to build upon the success of the relaunched event as part of a “three year plan” for the gala, which is the sports club’s biggest fundraiser for the year.

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