Bilton Gala commitee annnounces there will be no parade this year after results of online poll

Last year's Bilton Gala.
Last year's Bilton Gala.

The organisers of Bilton Gala have announced that there will be no parade this year, and the close to £2,000 usually spent on putting it on will be donated to local charities instead.

The Gala committee launched a poll on the event's Facebook and Twitter pages earlier this month, asking residents their views on giving more money to Bilton charities instead of staging the parade this year.

Another tweet from the committee said: "It’s reached the stage where the five organisers on the committee simply can’t spread themselves thinly enough to run the parade and the events on the field. Despite pleas for volunteers to help we remain a very small team."

The decision to not hold a parade this year was taken after the poll showed a result of 60 per cent voting in favour of donating the costs to charity, and 40 per cent voting to continue the tradition.

A statement on Bilton Gala's Facebook page reads: "From this it is pretty clear that the majority of the community would rather we spent the money on good causes, therefore there will be no parade this year.

"The costs of staging the parade are around £2,000 so we want to get some feedback from you as to where we should spend this. The Gala constitution specifies that the money must be spent in the Bilton area on local good causes - it can be a group, charity, organisation or project so we'd love to hear your thoughts and we'll put the most popular suggestions to the vote.

"We are aware that in not having a parade, we are losing some of our heritage, but the costs, bureaucracy and time involved mean that it's no longer viable, and the five-strong committee simply can't run the parade and the Gala at the same time.

"We have another fantastic Gala lined up for everyone so we do hope that you will continue to support it and help us raise funds for our great Bilton community."

Committee member Jo Huddart responded to some residents on the Gala's Facebook page who said it's a shame to lose the parade tradition.

She said: "I know it’s sad that a parade won’t be happening but £1,890 is a lot for a half hour parade. The parade audience has fallen in recent years ... lots of places where there is no one watching as it passes. I’ve walked it the past 10 years plus.

"The amount of participants is also less and less each year. This year the committee have decided not to go ahead with a parade THIS year, but that doesn’t mean the gala event won’t be a good day out!

"Any parties interested in the funds we have to donate should complete a form from the website please."

One resident said: "What a shame, I just hope all the people that line the street to watch the parade go by then walk up to the gala still attend, or your gate money is going to go down and next you will be looking at not having a gala, what a loss to the community."

Another said: "What a shame. The parade is the best bit nowadays and lets the community showcase their different groups."

But many have also welcomed the news and congratulated the committee on giving a financial boost to causes in the Bilton community.