Unveiled: Major 40th anniversary plans for Harrogate community event

This year's 40th anniversary Bilton Gala Queen Lottie Hullah  with her attendants Bessie Bandeira and Ruby Cryer with the gala's mascot Billlowby the Bear. (17042421AM1)
This year's 40th anniversary Bilton Gala Queen Lottie Hullah with her attendants Bessie Bandeira and Ruby Cryer with the gala's mascot Billlowby the Bear. (17042421AM1)
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The Queen was just celebrating her 25th year on the throne when one of Harrogate’s premier community events was first launched.

Now, four decades later, Bilton Gala is still going strong and, incredibly, Bank Holiday Monday will see it celebrating its 40th anniversary .

Known for its spectacular parade and being an affordable day out for the whole family, the organisers are marking the occasion with an action-packed day of events.

Since its opening year in 1977, the gala has expanded and grown from its base at Richard Taylor Cof E Primary School on Bilton Lane to the adjoining fields.

And the event has also become a focal point for fundraising for good causes locally.

Non-profit making, since it obtained charitable status in 2008, organisers have been successful in ploughing profits back into local community projects, charities and worthy individuals.

Past donations have included the installation of the AED defibrillator outside Bilton WMC.

Bilton Gala Committee chairman Stuart Frost said: “Bilton Gala is about the community, not only to put on a good day out, but to put money back into where it is needed through grants to the many groups, organisations and individuals in the Bilton area.

“In the last few years, we have been able to donate over £8,000 to the community, so please support the event and have a great day out.”

In keeping with the special milestone, this year’s event on Monday, which is sponsored by Verity Frearson and Yorkshire Radiology, will have the theme of Back to the 70s.

Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Councillor Nick Brown, local MP Andrew Jones and Bilton Gala mascot Billowby Bear will be there on the day.

But, as always, the star of the show will be the Gala Queen, who this year is 11-year-old Lottie Hullah, and her attendants Ruby Cryer and Bessie Bandeira, both aged eight, who will head up the opening parade in a chauffeur-driven car.

Organisers are also inviting previous gala queens of the past to come along and take pride of place on one of the colourful floats in the parade.

Entertainment this year will include the Stannage International Stunt Team, supported by strong man John Evans who will balance a car on his head.

New attractions will include donkey rides, the reptile roadshow, archery and a special children’s magic show.

The gates will open at Richard Taylor Primary School at noon on Monday, May 1 and entry costs £2.

The parade will set off from Meadow Croft at 12.30pm.

More information at www.biltongala.org.uk