After a 15 year hiatus the event was back with a bang, thanks to Finlay and Pauline Mitchell who recently launched Swinton Village Events and have been instrumental in encouraging villagers to get together and make the most of their fantastic community.
At 2.30pm on Saturday, June 2, Duns Pipe Band led the King and Queen, their attendants and families from the school, along Main Street and finally on to Swinton’s green.
In a wonderful, fitting tribute to the last gala which took place in 2003, the incumbent Queen of the Merse, Lizzie Lerpiniere was present as part of the arrival procession and to hand over the crowns to the new Merse royalty.
The Queen, Lily Mcmullan, the King, Jamie Morton and the attendants, Lily Jones, Kimberly Mann and James Burton were selected from the primary school and carried out their duties to perfection. Their stunning custom-made outfits, which included dresses, waistcoats and ties, were made by Jo Simpson, with sashes, brooches and hair decorations made by Claire Morton.
Compere for the day was Heather Major who introduced the programme and created a fun and lively atmosphere, with face-painting, welly throwing, quoits, children’s races and the tug-o-war which was ultimately won, after a fierce battle, by the Wellfield 8 Men’s team. Various stalls were set out around the green providing information about horse-riding, the horticultural society, the church and local businesses, with a raffle and additional activities run by the school. There were plenty of refreshments on offer on the day, from cream teas supplied by the events committee, burgers supplied by Foreman’s Butchers and Avocet, fish and chips from Geoff Allen catering and ice creams from Jo Smith. And in addition to this was a well-stocked bar run by the village’s own Wheatsheaf pub. The support of so many local businesses was very much appreciated by everyone involved.
In a link to the village name and mascot - the pig - a display of local artistic talent in the form of a ‘pig dressing’ competition was exhibited on the Green, with the eventual five winners chosen by Jamie Swinton, who told his audience: “I ham so honoured to be here.”