Final call: Urgent help needed to save Bilton Gala from ending after 42 years

Bilton Gala has brought joy to thousands of families over the years.
Bilton Gala has brought joy to thousands of families over the years.

It's been a staple of Harrogate's events calendar for more than 40 years, but this could really be the end - after multiple attempts by the organising committee to save it, Bilton Gala will end altogether if no one answers this final plea for support.

Falling visitor numbers and a shortage of funds have forced the committee to consider this position. Attendance at the gala itself has fallen from 5,000 in 2014 to under 2,000 over the last two years, with the gala this year making a loss of £700.

Profits from the event are ploughed straight back into the Bilton Community Fund, which supports good causes in the area, but lack of money has made it increasingly difficult to provide grants.

A public meeting was hosted by the committee last week to discuss options for securing the event's future, which was open to all interested residents, but only a small number attended.

Options for taking the gala forward that were discussed, included seeking more sponsorship, passing the baton on for the planning of the gala to another organisation, or winding up completely.

Committee chairman Stuart Frost, said: “We are grateful to the small number of people who came along to the meeting. It would be a great shame if the gala is to be consigned to history after 42 years. There are just five volunteers on the committee, and we have all thoroughly enjoyed organising the gala, but the reality is that we cannot continue with such limited resources and such little support.”

Those attending the public meeting agreed to invite anyone who is interested in taking over the gala to contact the committee by September 5 at the latest.

Potential volunteers and businesses interested in providing sponsorship are requested to send an email to enquiries@biltongala.org.uk

If no one comes forward there will be no other option but to call it a day. Stuart said: “From a personal point of view, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to chair the committee for the past 15 years."