Al Stewart reports on a sunny Gala Day celebration in Biggar


BIGGAR enjoyed a fantastic week of weather and activities all of which were packed out by happy and enthusiastic children and equally happy parents.

The Gala Queen’s football match, Riding of the Marches, tree planting, Cross Keys quiz, Court dress parade, family fun – including pet show and slippy slide, duck race, Junior Rideout, Junior and senior gloves race, pavement artist, scooter races, ancestors walk – were all blessed with wonderful warm sunshine.

And almost unbelievably the sun continued to shine on Saturday for Biggar Gala Day.

To get a whole week of fabulous weather is unusual but everyone would surely vote for a repeat in 2024. A large crowd assembled to cheer Queen Mia Leitch, her court and the very large procession as it made its way from the Corn Exchange to the Municipal. Here, another large crowd witnessed Mia being crowned Fleming Queen by Crowning Lady Ann Wilson (herself Fleming Queen in 1974).

The Court carried out their duties to a tee before the procession assembled once again for the tour of Biggar.

Led by Biggar Pipe Band, and with Peebles Silver Band bringing up the rear, Mia’s car was supported by her Court in cars, nine Biggar Cornets on horseback, a number of large decorated floats and a vast number of walkers.

The whole event ran like clockwork with Gala Day chairperson Faye Corrigan delighted with the turnout and the response from the townsfolk.

Queen Mia paid her respects to those who gave their lives in battle by placing a bouquet at Biggar’s War Memorial. The procession then completed its journey by continuing up the High Street to the Corn Exchange. After a short break the Court and Cornets were led by the Pipe Band to the Kello.

With no COVID restrictions it was great to see the whole Court and Cornets able to enter the hospital.

This is always a popular visit for those in care with the band piping tunes and the Cornets singing the Burgh song.

After a hearty lunch in the Municipal, Queen Mia and her Court were piped to the Showfield by Biggar Pipe Band and the afternoon activity, ‘Fun in the Field’.

There was a big surprise awaiting the procession as the field area was crammed with families all relaxing in the warm sunshine.

Indeed, the band struggled initially to find a suitable space to gather such was the number of revellers.

With stalls, bouncy castles, food outlets and the like surrounding the area, there was lots to enjoy, not least the Gala Day treats handed out by the Co-op along with Taylor’s Ice cream.

At 7pm the street dancing kicked off with the Cornets Reel followed by the Court Reel and a wee ceilidh, after which Barry Cosh resumed with the disco which was packed once again by young and old.

Cornet for 2022, Michael Allen, led the customary conga and the dancing continued until dark.

All in all it was a fantastic day.

The week was rounded off perfectly on Sunday (June 18) by the traditional cycle during which Cornet Euan Sanderson and Queen Mia climbed Bizzyberry to lower the Saltire.

Shieldhill Castle was the halfway stop where riders were treated to ice cream from Taylor’s.

The community would like to say many thanks to all who were involved in any way in the organisation of the events during the week and on Gala Day itself. Here’s to Gala week 2024!