The 2011 Galloway Pageant held annually in Newton Stewart could not have had a better start with the Sashing of the Queen event at the Creebridge Hotel on Sunday being one of the best attended there has ever been.
Around 350 people packed the grounds of the hotel on a warm and sunny afternoon to witness the event which signals the start of the festivities.
Queen elect Emily Keenan received her sash from present Queen of Galloway Kellie McPhillips which started a great afternoon of entertainment for the large crowd. The two Queens’ first duty was to present the Newton Stewart Round Table Jubilee Charity Cup to the winning football club who had taken part in a well attended tournament in Minnigaff Park earlier in the day.
The clear winners of this annual event were Lochar Thistle from Dumfries who amassed 31 points with last year’s winners Millenium from Stranraer coming second with 15 points. Galloway Thistle finished with 13 points and East End from Stranraer with 10 points.
During the afternoon there were various competitions with the family treasure hunt being won by Angela Kane and Finton with the McVean family second and Laura, Erin and Michaella coming in third place. Marlene Copland won the glamorous granny competition with Judy Allan and Evelyn McClymont being joint second. Ryan Wicks won the £30 first prize in Play your Cards Right at the first time of asking while Jake Service won the £10 first prize at the football competition.
For a bit of fun some adults tried to show of their goal scoring skills and although Martin McClymont’s tally was 125 points his uncle Roy failed to win a single point and was presented with a ‘Douglas the Clown’ booby prize much to the amusement of the crowd. With the burger staff completely sold out the family fun continued as the large crowd were entertained by some great music and songs from local band Kippy and Co and by DJs Sean and Paul who kept the music flowing to round off a tremendous afternoon to kickstart this year’s pageant.
The karaoke competition in the Central Bar was next up and although the event was well attended there was a reluctance to take part in the singing competition although eventually it did take place with Jacqueline Burnett winning singing Perfect and Flash Dance; second were Craig Kirkwood and Ryan Wicks with their renditions of Barbie Girl and All Summer Coming and third was Iris McClelland and Linda Kelly singing Paper Roses and Crazy.
A special award is being made for this competition in memory of Mark Milligan who died suddenly on January 27 this year at the young age of 23 years. The young man loved to sing at the karaoke as well as attending most Pageant events and the memorial trophy will be presented to the winner at the crowning on Saturday.
Monday afternoon saw the annual Baby Show taking place in the McMillan Hall when 29 babies took part with the results as follows; 0-6months - 1, Jen Hamilton; 2, James Kirkwood; 3, Logan McKie; 6-12 months - 1, Amy Ferguson; 2, Noah Galloway-Hogg; 3, Demi Sloss; 12-24 months - 1, Arron Sloss; 2, Ellie McEwan; 3, Kaylie Southgate; 24-36 months -1, Leah Bark; 2, Finton Kane; 3, Alexa Cluckie; Best Boy - Arron Sloss; Best Girl - Leah Bark; Best Overall - Leah Bark.
With the Galloway Pageant well and truly under way the events moved on to Monday evening with the annual football 5-a-side competition taking place at Minnigaff All Weather Pitch.
In the under-8s event the competition was extremely tight with a penalty shoot-out between the three teams necessary to find a winner. Minnigaff United were the eventual victors over the Black and Whites with the A team coming in third but only a single penalty conversation separated the three sides with all the initial games being drawn.
Young Gareth Gibson was the talk of the park after scoring a tremendous goal into the top corner of net from half way.
Gola won the under 14s competition with a bit to spare winning both their matches with Turtle Headers taking second place ahead of Duncans Pits on goal difference. In the adult section Apple Soors beat The Lads in a penalty shoot out with the sides sharing ten goals in the final. Real Sosobad came third with Kirkcowan making up the four team competition. All sections winners and runners up were presented with their trophies, Prize money and medals by Queen Kellie and Queen elect Emily.
There were another two events the same night with a beetle drive taking place in the Cree Inn and the domino tournament being played in the Galloway Arms Hotel. Graham Irving won the adults beetle drive with 120 points while Tracy McVean took the booby prize with 50 points. Cara McQueen was the winner of the childrens competition with 135 points and with 41 points Emma McVean kept it in the family to take the youngsters’ booby prize.
The domino singles was won by Dougie McLaren who beat Davy Brown for the £35 first prize and in the pairs Izzie England and Match Middleton beat Dougie McLaren and Lucy Adams for the £70 prize money.
On Tuesday the childrens’ sports took place arranged by Irene Johnstone and the whole event ran extremely well which was a compliment to Mrs Johnstone’s organisational skills. There were 46 races including running, skipping, egg race, bat and ball and sack race and with over 50 children taking part there was some great competition with the top three boys and girls as follows:
Boys Championship - 1, Jack Marshall; 2, Gregor Orban; 3, Gareth Gibson; Girls Championship - 1, Sarah Martin; 2, Ceris McKie; 3= Amy Farley and Molly McLean.
In the evening the ever popular children’s disco was held in the McMillan Hall with DJ Shaun Dodds supplying the music to around 100 youngsters. Sarah Martin won the girls’ disco dancing competition with Steven Queen first in the boys.
The pool singles competition was held in the Central Bar and from 18 entries David McCathie beat Dean Thomson in the final with Dean’s dad Ian claiming third spot after beating Dougie McLaren in a play-off.
This year’s Pageant, which is chairwoman Kim Crosbie’s final one in the hot seat, has started as well as could be expected and with a full programme of events still to come in the lead up to Saturday’s crowning ceremony and ‘Fun in the Park’ festivities it is hoped the weather continues to match the great attendances.
The big day is tomorrow when Queen elect Emily will be crowned Queen of Galloway in Dashwood Square after the fancy dress procession. This will be followed by entertainment in Minnigaff Park with music, various stalls, bouncy castles, fun fair, burger stall, kiddies rides with the highlight being a stuntman/escapologist/fire-eater, Amazing Magnus.
It’s been all go in Newton Stewart this week!
Pageant Week is when all the year-long work carried out by the organising committee finally comes to fruition for the benefit of the local community and visitors alike.