THE galas held each year in East Lothian’s towns and villages are brilliant events.

I know from growing up here they are a highlight looked forward to for months in advance and thoroughly enjoyed on the day itself – the showgrounds, far too much cotton candy and sweets, getting to throw a soaking sponge at my teacher in the stockades.

I also remember when I was a child, going around with my grandad, George, to judge the houses in Prestonpans that were dressed up for the gala and picking the award winners. I am sure there are people all over East Lothian that hold the events dear like me.

Of course, the scale of these events are all the more impressive when you consider they are volunteer-organised and run. But these committees are becoming too small to function effectively. I know from my own ward of Preston/Seton/Gosford that the three galas we have are increasingly falling onto the shoulders of a very small, dedicated band.

It reached a head in Cockenzie & Port Seton in the last few weeks, where the committee was down to such a tiny number that holding the gala wasn’t going to be possible and it was announced it was going to be cancelled. The outcry on social media following the news demonstrated the strong feelings for the gala as a pillar of the community.

Luckily in Cockenzie & Port Seton, local people have rallied around, an emergency general meeting was held and enough people came forward to get the gala on this year. I think that those that have come forward should be thanked for doing so – to lose the gala would be devastating for the community.

So, I would encourage those living in my ward and across East Lothian to get in touch with the committee that organises their local gala and volunteer to help out. I know I will be emailing the local gala committees in my ward to find out what I can do to help.

The memories created by events like the gala can last a lifetime and do such a great job in binding our communities and keeping them vibrant, wonderful places to live.