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From the Haddington Courier of Friday, 24 June, 1949
The First annual Gala Day of the Prestonpans district was held on Saturday in the Playing field of Prestonpans Public School. Flags and bunting in profusion decorated the streets of the town and the glorious June day completed a festive scene which attracted a record crown.
Children and parents flocked in the park from early afternoon, the former bringing further decorations with them in the way of flags and balloons. The first part of the proceedings saw the crowd centred around the platform for the crowning of the Gala Queen (Mary McKenzie). while old age pensioners were privileged to watch the ceremony from seats near the front of the stage.
The Queen was preceded to the stage by her court, consisting of the following:- Maids of honour -Rita Gibbons. Ann Dudgeon. Nan Campbell. Jean McKenzie. Agnes Smith. Jessie Ritchie: Courier -Alister Wood: Crown-bearer - John Hogg: Sceptre bearer - Andrew Adams: Heralds - Robert King, Robert Fraser: Flag attendant - Alexander O McCran: Train bearers - William Hanratty, Elizabeth Davidson: Flower girls - Ray Baxter. Mamie Scott. Betty Hill. Moreen McGoff, Elizabeth Reilly. May Steel. The "lady" courtiers carried beautiful bouquets of flowers specially made by Mrs Donaldson and wore crinoline dresses of powder blue, covered with bells. The boys wore the traditional dress of the same period, namely velvet garb with gartcred hose. The Queen made her appearance on the dais dressed in a white satin frock with a cloak of red velvet.
Exchange of Greetings
Mrs J J Robertson. wife of the Under Secretary of State for Scotland performed the crowning ceremony with grace and charm.
The couriers then sent forth their Royal Proclamations of the crowning of Queen Mary. An interesting and unusual exchange of greetings took place between Queen Ann at Ormiston and Queen Mary of Prestonpans when carrier pigeons, bearing messages of goodwill, were dispatched from the two ceremonies.
Before the procession started, the Prestonpans choirs sang "Nymphs and Shepherds" and "Leezie Lindsay".
Prestonlinks Pipe Band led the procession, followed by a detachment of Scouts and by the Queen and her retinue. A long line of school children, many of them in fancy dress, joined the procession. and Mr & Mrs J J Robertson followed by car, while Prestonlinks Silver Band brought up the rear. The procession arrived at the Mercat Cross via West Loan. South Grange Avenue. Grange Road, New Street. High Street, Harlaw Hill and East Loan. Royal Proclamations were heralded from the Cross and the procession then wended its way through the crowds back to the park where tea was served before the commencement of the sports.
Other attractions at the Park were a Punch and Judy show, pony rides. Highland dancing and "spot the mystery man and woman" competition. Throughout the afternoon and evening music was provided by the two Bands and the four Highland dancers giving displays were Jessie Potter. Jessie Wallace, Mary Hume and Lotty Meharry. The team dancing displays were given by 1st Prestonpans Girl Guides (A Dickson, R Rodgers, A Potter. S Morgan. A Bruce. R Rodger, J Davidson. E Jainieson. J Miller, M Peden, L Thomson and N Carlisle).
The spectators remained to the end of the sports, reluctant to miss any of the events. Considering that this was the Committee's first experience of organising a Gala Day, the proceedings were carried out remarkably well. The thanks of the Committee were tendered to the following for their valuable assistance - the Education Committee, the headmaster (Mr W Roberts) and the teachers of the Public School. Mr Scrimegour (National Coal Board). Mrs Robertson for presenting the prizes and performing the crowning ceremony, and many other helpers whose work had formed the core of the gala's success.
The Prize-Winners
The result of the Fancy Dress Parade (up to 7 years of age) - 1 Rosemary McDonald Scott (Little Bo-Peep), 2 Elizabeth Rose (butterfly), 3 Catherine Winn (Wee Willie Winkie); 7-12 - 1 Douglas Low (Indian chieO, 2 William McDonald (Pedro the Fisherman). 3 Sadie Baxter (Allladin with his magic Lamp): 12-15- 1 Iris McDonald and Elizabeth Burns (Old Mother Riley and her Daughter. Kitty). 2 Sadie Morgan (A Turk). 3 Elizabeth Dolan (Robin Hood): special prize for the most original costume - Drew Fairgrieve (sailor). Boys' Races
Age 4 - 1 J Edmond, 2 G Bruce, 3 J Hamilton; 5 - 1 T Gordon, 2 T Clevor. 3 C Forsyth: 6 - 1 G Sideserff. 2 J Lees. 3 J Edmond: 7 - 1 R Buchanan, 2 G Edmond. 3 G McLeod: 8 - 1 I Ross. 2 H Yorkston. 3 A Aircs: 9 - 1 A Hamilton. 2 E Cowan, 3 T Coull: 10 - 1 A Harvey. 2 R McKenzie, 3 W McKenzie: 11 - 1 J Bathgate. 2 J Goldie. 3 J McLeod: 12 - 1 C Thornburn. 2 J Ferguson. 3 T Baird: 13 - 1 E Connachan. 2 J S Gunn. 3 E D Connachan: 14 - 1 J Connachan. 2 J Johnston. 3 A McDonald
Three-legged Race - 1 D Cunningham and R Cunningham. 2 J Gunn and J S Gunn. 3 A Harvey and W Shepherd; High Jump - 1 E Connachan, 2 J S Gunn. 3 Watson Hutchison: Young Men's Sprint - 2 J Connachan. 2 W Currie. 3 W Heron: Half-Mile - 1 J Cairney. 2 D Martin. 3 A Ross: Obstacle Race - 1 G Nesbit, 2 J Godsell. 3 D Connachan: Silver Band Race - 1 J Scott. 2 J M Burns. 3 J Thorn; Pipe Band Race - 1 Pipe-Major R Johnstone. 2 A Muir. 3 Drummer T Blair: Old Men's Race (60 or over) - 1 G Gavin. 2 J Connar. 3 G McLcod. Consolation Prizes. J Cannon. C Edward; Relay Races: Boys 12-15 - 1 (Fowler Shields) St Martin's Tranent (J S Gunn. J Gunn. E Connachan. J Connachan): Boys 12 and under - 1 (Co-operative Shield) Prestonpans Junior Secondary School (G Nesbit. J Redfoot. R D Jamieson. R King)
Girls' Races
Aged 4 - 1 J Harkess. 2 J Gibson. 3 I Burns: 5 - 1 J Inglis. 2 E McLaughlan. 3 R Cadollan: 6 - 1 T Dolan. 2 L Laverack, 3 M Findlay: 7 - 1 I McCabe. 2 I Forbes. 3 T Gunn: 8 - 1 E Nicholson. 2 I Bruce. 3 M Thomson: 9 - 1 A Malcolm. 2 M McKinlay. 3 M McFarlane: 10 - 1 C Frascr. 2 Fay Edmond, 3 E Howden: 11 - 1 N McCabe. 2 J McFarlane. 3 J Connachan: 12 - 1 J Stenton. 2 E Fraser, 3 E Dolan; 13 - 1 A Stewart. 2 M Roger. 3 M Fairley: 14 - 1 N Kerr. 2 E Coslello. 3 J Stewart: 15 - 1 I M Hastie. 2 J Dolan. 3 A Thomson.
Young Married Women's Race - 1 Mrs Thomson. 2 Mrs Baillic: Young Ladies' Race - 1 E Cairney. 2 M Walters, 3 T Gunn; Skipping Race - 1 H Jamieson. 2 I Law. 3 A Hood: Three-Legged Race - 1 C Wilkie and M McLeod, 2 J Bell and A Thomson. N Kerr and I Law: Obstacle Race - 1 E Cairney, 2 E Fraser. 3 J Reid; Old Ladies' Race - 1 Mrs Armstrong. 2 Mrs Muir. 3 Mrs McLeod. Consolation Prizes. Mrs Wallace. Mrs Crow and Mrs McLeod.

Reproduced by kind permission of East Lothian Courier

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