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Town facing no-frills gala, warn organisers

Published: 25 Feb 2010 06:006 comments

THE financial woes facing Tranent's gala committee show no sign of abating after its chairman announced that cost-cutting measures must take place at this year's celebrations - and warned 2010 could be the last year that residents can enjoy the family-friendly event.

Gala committee chairman Tom Logan told Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council (TECC) last Tuesday that organisers were in "dire straits" due to the rising costs of staging the jam-packed week of events and a lack of community support.

He explained that one of the traditional features set to be absent this year was the colourful bunting that decorates the town centre throughout the gala week, and blamed the committee's decision on a recent hike in East Lothian Council fees for erecting the flags.

"We've agreed as a committee that we're not going to be responsible for putting the flags up this year," said Mr Logan.

"The council hit us up for £1,085 for erecting last year's flags and there's no way the gala committee can afford that this year.

"And we're now being charged for using the Loch Centre and we've got to have rehearsals there in the run-up to the gala day and use it as a building for various different occasions.

"It's just money that we don't have."

He told community councillors that the 2010 gala funds were at the £6,000 mark, but that figure was unlikely to stretch to support next year's celebrations.

"If we don't get more money from somewhere I think it's safe to say this will be Tranent Gala Day's last year," added Mr Logan.

TECC chairman Raymond Strang lamented the risk to the gala day, saying: "For my generation, the gala day was always the big day of the year. Group member Robert McNeill echoed his concerns. "The community of Tranent has changed drastically over the last 10-15 years and that is a lot to do with the new builds that have taken place," he said.

"What we have in Tranent are a lot of very well run (school) Parent Councils and communities that are actively revolving around the schools.

"Unfortunately, what suffers as a result of this are organisations like the gala committee and a lot of people in the gala committee are people who have been born and bred in Tranent.

"It's just a sign of the times."

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