So, it’s Sat 16th June 2018 – Gala Day. I’m up at 5am. Why? Probably due to a mixture of being excited for the day, preparing my photography gear and feeling sorry for myself at having to refuse a weekend of scuba diving at Wastwater with my diving buddies from Burnley Sub Aqua Club. Yeah, the boys are already messaging me, saying that they are en route for some diving and it’ll be fun. The usual wind up banter!
The weather doesn’t look great – cloudy with some rain, but by 0900, I’m in Colne … and having a coffee with fellow photographer, Colin Bean, and discussing our plan of action. Who is going to do what and where we’re going to meet up afterwards. I’ve also been asked to cover the launch of a new charity in aid of people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
But that’s in Burnley and finishes up at 3pm, so somehow I have to try to fit that in. The plan: Gala procession first, then Burnley for charity launch, then back to Colne to try to cover the Gala events at Holt House.
What? Burnley? Why would I even think about going to Burnley on Colne Gala day? Well, one of the key organisers of the new MND charity is Julie Sala. Julie was a Colne & District Nurse for a long time and she also help put together the ‘Walk to D’Feet MND’. Remember that? The Colne & District Nurses walk(s) from Preston to Colne. Now, I’ve a lot of time for our Nurses and although Julie is currently working with the MND team at the Lancashire Teaching Hospital in Preston, I’ve been helping them out where I can. Yep, that means trips to Preston. So, when presented with an opportunity to help them – then I’m going to try. Sure, it’s manic on Gala Day … but that’s how it is. Despite the running around, it’s great fun.
Back to the Gala. We arrive near Shaw Street at about 10am and head out to start having a look at the procession and generally getting involved with the preparations. At this point, Colin & I split up. Colin starts at the front and I head off down Shaw Street intending to start at the other end. Foolish decision, as after about 20-30 yards I am spotted and dragged into the thick of things.
Oh look! There’s Helen Green (and the dancers from the Helen Green Academy of Dance). Let’s have a photo. No way … Helen is off and running away from me. This amuses all the parents around the float and they generally have a good rib at me. Eventually, I catch her off guard and get a photo. Again, Helen is no stranger to us or being photographed, but we know how fussy she is!
By this time, I’m being shouted at by the kids on the float. Yep, Pheobe, Brooke, Lexi and the rest are well used to my presence and are more than happy to get their photo’s taken. Everyone is relaxed and messing about. That’s just how we like it, natural. Usually, there is no time for fancy setup posed photo’s when out on the street.
Theme of one float: Child labour workers & suffragettes. Outstanding display by Helen Green Dance Academy. She later was awarded the ‘Best in Parade’.