Pageant could come to end after 80 years

The Galloway Pageant is facing its most serious threat to date after its organising committee was dissolved.

At the event’s AGM last week, only 13 people turned up and all office-bearers stood down, leaving Newton Stewart’s popular summer programme looking in grave doubt.

Having recently celebrated its 80th birthday, the week-long programme – which has been known to draw upwards of 4000 people to the town on its culminating parade day, at which a Queen of Galloway is crowned – has suffered from a lack of interest in making it happen.

A last-minute reprieve by hard-working volunteers has saved it from death each year.

But, this week, its future looks bleak as no-one in the community stepped forward to pick up the slack from outgoing chair Diann Hughes and her team.

Diann has said that while the town wants its traditional pageant, few are willing to put in the work to make it happen and are unaware of the hours of work required to maintain the summer heritage.

However, some townsfolk claim the pageant is outdated.

Facing a similar fate in 2000, John McNaught stepped in and formed a committee but council commitments prevent this now.

He said that a poem from around the time of the first crowning of a Queen of Galloway in 1933 has particular resonance now.

He said: “Mrs Kay, in crowning the first queen, said it was her wish that Gallovidians will always see to it that each summer they will proclaim and crown a new Queen of Galloway. The poem reads: “So rally round in this time of need, for the Galloway Pageant needs you to make it succeed, so oot you must come both young and old, to maintain our tradition from the days of old, and together let us rejoice and cheer, for we are having a pageant again this year.”

It was agreed that a special public meeting will be held in a last-ditch attempt to encourage interest, which will take place at 7pm on Tuesday, October 29.