CHILDREN in Prestonpans enjoyed a gala day with a difference this year.

Like many events in the county, the annual Prestonpans Children’s Gala was impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The gala’s organising committee had several discussions and, following advice from both East Lothian Council and the Scottish Government, it first postponed and then cancelled the gala day, which had been due to be held on June 20.

However, the committee still wanted to recognise and mark the day.

One suggestion was to give all of those in the royal court a goodie bag and rename the event, so instead it held what it called ‘Lockdown Gala Day’.

Graeme Hutchison, gala convenor, told the Courier: “This was to encourage the kids and remind them that we hadn’t forgotten that this should have been their special day.

“This idea kind of grew thanks to our chairperson Vikki Burns suggesting we could have an alternative gala day parade.”

The parade consisted of the gala committee members decorating their cars with balloons and bows in gala colours.

They then travelled around Prestonpans, stopping at the houses of each member of the royal court to deliver them their goodie bag, honking their horns as they passed.

Graeme said: “In the lead-up to gala day there was still a buzz about the town; people were still showing their support by putting up their bunting and the parents of the royal court were being made aware we would be visiting. Nobody knew what to expect.

“Gala day itself was amazing, from the glorious weather to the great response we got from the locals as we travelled around in convoy tooting and waving, visiting many streets of the town which the normal gala parade doesn’t visit. The people of Prestonpans certainly came out to show their support and for that we are truly grateful.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the future Queen Lily [Bennion] and her royal court, as well as their families for their patience and understanding. Thanks to Connor from Sneddon Media for travelling with us and capturing the fantastic photos, which are on our Facebook page ‘Prestonpans Gala Day’. 

“Finally, thanks to the dedicated committee members who once again gave up their time to make the event possible. 

“We hope to be back doing some fundraisers in the not too distant future to help us fund and prepare as we look forward to Gala Day 2021 on Saturday, June 12.”

After Lockdown Gala Day, Graeme took to social media to share his thoughts on the event.

He said: “Prestonpans, you didn’t disappoint us.

“The fantastic efforts made from everyone to put up your bunting and decorate your streets, please repeat this next year. It was great to see so many of you as we travelled around as many streets as we could while visiting the members of the royal court.

“To the royal court children, we didn’t want to forget that it would have been your day, we can still have your special day next year.

“To Queen Lily, you were absolutely stunning, even reducing some of the committee to tears; your mum and dad will be proud of you, the way you conducted yourself on what should have been your special day. To you, the community of Prestonpans for coming out and showing your appreciation as we passed by quietly (haha) in our cars, doing the alternative gala parade. Hopefully you enjoyed it.”

He also thanked his fellow gala committee members for giving up their time and ensuring gala day traditions continued.