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A manicured Island Park in Kinlocheven welcomed back the first village gala day for several decades at the weekend, writes Iain Ferguson.
Island Park, once regarded as one of the best and least likely to flood sports fields anywhere in Lochaber and the centre of community activities, lay ignored and overgrown for years before the Island Park Community Field Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation was set up.
Thanks to the hard work of this group, backed by the community and volunteers, a grass cutting tractor was bought and the park restored to its former glory.
A Guy Fawkes fireworks display was its first event last November, after which plans to revive the village gala day were put in motion. In a relatively short period of time, the gala was organised with a queen and royal party picked from the school and activities for all ages arranged.
The always unpredictable weather held at the weekend and while it wasn’t sunny, the rain stayed away for most of the proceedings and everyone really enjoyed the day.
After a procession from the astroturf on the other side of the village, teacher Rhona Lawson officially opened the gala and crowned the Queen, Paige Borland. After the ceremony, other attractions including fancy dress, a dog show, highland dancers, stalls and local band ‘Shine’ made sure there was something to keep people entertained.
One of the driving forces behind the event, Matthew Prosser, told the Lochaber Times: ‘Many people worked very hard to make this happen and I am glad it was such a successful day with most villagers and visitors to the area turning out.
‘Everyone has been positive. Thanks go to everyone who helped make it happen as well as those who came to support it. There a few more community events coming off soon which I hope everyone will get behind.’
Photographs by alba.photos and Mark Tayler.
There was a procession from the astroturf on the other side of the village. NO F30 KL Gala 09
Luckily, the spray from a fire hose was the only water falling on Island Park during the gala day. Photograph, Alba.photos NO F30 KL Gala 16
A busy day for gala organisers. Photograph, Alba.photos NO-F30-KL-Gala-15-1t
Local band ‘Shine’ entertained throughout the afternoon. Photograph, Alba.photos NO F30 KL Gala 12
A friendly bout in the soft play area. Photograph, Alba.photos NO-F30-KL-Gala-14-
Fun, laughter and fancy dress on the bouncy slide. Photograph, Alba.photos NO F30 KL Gala 11
Gala Queen Paige Borland with attendants Sarah Henshaw, left, and Lana Lindsay. Photograph, Alba.photos NO F30 KL Gala 03
David Ogg, who provided the commentary, interviews Rhona Lawson who officially opened the gala and crowned the Queen. Photograph, Alba.photos NO F30 KL Gala 04
Young Highland dancers entertained the crowds. Photograph, Alba.photo NO-F30-KL-Gala-05
Councillor Sarah Fanet judged the dog show. Photograph, Alba.photos NO F30 KL Gala 08
Rhona Lawson crowns Gala Queen Paige Borland. Photograph, Alba.photo NO-F30-KL-Gala-02
A Disney-themed float led the procession through the village to Island Park. Photograph, Alba.photos NO F30 KL Gala 01