There was a carnival atmosphere at the weekend as local people and visitors turned out in force to visit Alston Gala. Crowds gathered on Alston Front Street to watch the gala procession which started from Alston Primary School.  The procession was led by vintage tractors followed by Stanhope's 'Brass Exiles Band'.

alston gala queen 2014


The Gala Queen Saffron Carter and her attendants, Holly Jackson and Tiffany Ward, followed in a 1925 Humber classic car, which was provided by J.H. Henderson and Sons Ltd. Their beautiful dresses had been made by Josie Hind. Then came the decorated floats competing for a first place prize of £1,000 donated by Alston based business Glasstap, and an array of fancy dress costumes worn by people of all ages, following the procession down to Tyne Willows playing fields.

The first task of the day was to crown the new Gala Queen Saffron Carter, which was done by the retiring queen Jane Hodgson. Then Gala Chair Raymond Miller welcomed Guest Judge Carol Malia from BBC Look North to judge the four entries for the best decorated float by an Alston Moor community group. This proved a very difficult task!


Community Group Float Results:

  • 4th Place with a prize of £100:      'Rio' by Robinwood Activity Centre
  • 3rd Place with a prize of £200:      'Sleeping Beauty (Maleficent) by Fairhill Recreation Ground
  • 2nd Place with a prize of £300:     'The Gruffalo' by Alston Stay & Play
  • 1st  Place with a prize of £1,000:  'Bottom of the Garden' by Alston Moor Dance School 

Louise Richardson of Glasstap presented the winners with their cheque for £1,000. Other sponsors included Bonds Castings, Robinwood Activity Centre, Alston Natural Stone, Alston Cybermoor, Shepherds Fuels and Totalpost.

Carol Malia continued  judging the rest of the fancy dress and the Sylvia Liverick Memorial Shield was won by Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie aka Florence Reed, Wendy Wilson, Ann Morton, Karen Hickson, Jennifer Makepeace and  Isabelle  Johnson.

alston scarecrow 2014The winners of the Scarecrow Competition were announced and the judges special prizes went to Alston Primary School and Emma Noble on behalf of James Rennie School.

  • 4th Place:  Alston Digital
  • 3rd Place:  Kelly Dury
  • 2nd Place:  T.L.C Hairdressers
  • 1st Place: Irene Lawrence who won £50.

The Chairman Raymond Miller thanked Carol Maila for coming to judge the floats and fancy dress entries and Pat Cuthbertson and Richard Sharples for judging the scarecrow competition.

The events then got under way in the main ring starting with the Cheshire dog display team who entertained the crowd with their amazing dog handling skills. Also children's entertainer Stu-di-doo who kept the kids and adults entertained throughout the day. The crowd was then introduced to Alston Moor Dance School who showed some fancy footwork and moves during a superb performance. A Cumberland & Westmorland Wrestling competition took place later in the afternoon, which proved very popular with the large crowd standing round the wrestling ring. Other activities in the main ring included Ross Gilbert with his fire eating and juggling skills.

alston gala float 2014Other activities adding to the enjoyable atmosphere of the Gala included archery and welly throwing, run by Robinwood. There was also a number of car boots and stalls being run by local community groups. Throughout the course of the day the committee ran a BBQ and bar, which proved as popular as ever. Evelyn Currah and Sheila Rutherford were in charge of the raffle with 38 prizes all donated by Alston Moor businesses with the 1st prize of £50 won by Joan Walton.

Raymond Miller said the committee was delighted with how well the Gala had once again been supported by both the local community and visitors, and with the excellent standard of entries in the float, fancy dress and scarecrow competitions. He also thanked the committee for all their hard work ensuring that Alston Gala runs smoothly and successfully, all the businesses for their donations and raffle prizes and everyone that helps every year and without this help Gala Day wouldn’t happen. Gala celebrations continued well into the night at Alston House with music from Andrew Milburn.


Report by Sarah Bramwell

Photographs courtesy of Simon Danby 

Fancy Dress Results:

Individual Decorated Float:  1st place  'Frozen'

0-3 years: 1st 'Cowboy' Dexter McGuire 2nd 'Owl' Freya Paisley 3rd 'Flower Fairy' Lily Dalton

4-6 years: 1st 'Postman Pat' Maisy Glendinning and Brooke Lamb 2nd 'Prince' Jayden Elliott 3rd 'Butterfly' Ellia Knight

7-9 years: 1st 'Maleficent' Danielle Shepherd 2nd '' (Brian) Luke Wilson 3rd 'Frozen' Dylan and Courtney Mcananey

0-12 years: 1st 'Owl' Jo Garnett 2nd 'Elf' Ema Hanley 3rd 'Rabbit' Sarah Kearton

13-17 years: 1st 'Strawberry' Emmy Angier 2nd 'Squirrel' Rowan McCarthy 3rd 'Elf' Hannah Short

18 years+: 1st 'Elvis' Paul Brightwell 2nd 'Gnomes' Jocelyn Chambers and Karen McCarthy 3rd 'Butterfly' Alina Williams

Children's Group: 1st 'Sleeping Beauty' Danielle Shepherd, Hannah Shepherd and Erin Jackson 2nd 'Frozen' Kye and Kofi Peart, Chloe Brown, Ellie Foster 3rd 'The Gruffalo' Thaine Folkard, Dougie James, Jo Garnett

Adult Group & Sylvia Liverick Memorial Trophy: 'Mrs Browns Boys D'Movie' Ann Morton, Karen Hickson, Wendy Wilson, Florence Reed, Jennifer Makepeace and Isabelle Johnson. 2nd 'Down the Garden' Jocelyn Chambers, Karen McCarthy, Alina Williams, Alison Horn, Kerry Cooper, Ruth Harrison and Claire Thomson

Cumberland & Westmorland Wrestling Results:

Under 6 stone: 1st John Gibson 2nd Mathew Hodgson 3rd Connor Wharton

Under 12 years:  1st Mark Wharton 2nd John Gibson 3rd Mathew Hodgson

Under 15 years:  1st George Wilson 2nd Mark Wharton 3rd William Walton

Under 18 years: 1st Sam Brown 2nd Sam Wilson 3rd Mark Wharton

11 ½ stone 1st: Jack Brown 2nd Edward Craney 3rd Sam Wilson

13 stone:  1st Jack Brown 2nd Sam Wilson 3rd Edward Craney

All weights: 1st Jack Brown 2nd George Wilson 3rd Andrew Sandercock

Ladies  1st Abbi Marston 2nd Bobbie Phillipson 3rd Roxanne Hodgson