Townsfolk answer Summer Festival’s call for fresh blood

“Absolutely brilliant” was Summer Festival chairman Gerry Monaghan’s response after four new volunteers pledged their support for next year’s event.

Fears over whether or not the 2015 festival would go ahead had surfaced following the resignation of five committee members, with Mr Monaghan admitting the festival was “in some doubt”.

But following an appeal for volunteer helpers in last week’s Hawick News, the group’s ailing committee has been bolstered by new faces Laura Crozier, Malcolm Redpath, Alistair Redpath and Wendy Tait-Mayfield.

Speaking to the paper after the festival’s annual general meeting at the leisure centre on Monday night, Mr Monaghan said: “We really didn’t know how things were going to pan out, and if we hadn’t had these volunteers coming along tonight, the chances are we wouldn’t have been able to continue. That was the fear factor.

“But I’m now going away from this meeting with a far more positive outlook for the new year.”

Earlier in the evening, Mr Monaghan gave the chairman’s report, and said the 30th year of the Summer Festival had been one of “contrasting fortunes” for himself and the organisation.

He continued: “The past year has been difficult and at times very challenging due to the numbers attending meetings. But I’d like to extend my sincere and grateful thanks to fellow committee members for all their help and support.

“The opening day was again a great success and clearly enjoyed by everyone who came along including committee members.

“The new events up the park and the ladies’ night were also great successes. But our music night, despite being reasonably well attended, was not a great financial success. Similarly, the balloon race was only saved on the day by the help of [committee member] Dawn Robson and her friend from the card shop who helped to blow up the balloons.

“The flower princess, her attendants and their families also enjoyed the week and that was great testament to those on the committee who helped them attend the various events.”

Mr Monagahan concluded his report by saying that the festival was an integral part of the town’s events calendar and he hoped that with the help of new committee members it could continue to develop.

Giving the treasurer’s report, Carna McDonald said that this year’s festival recorded a deficit of £2,255, while the overall bank balance was £5,928. “We’ve got enough to run another year, but to be able to move forward from there we need to do some serious fund-raising,” said Mrs McDonald. “It’s great putting on events that folk are enjoying, but they cost a lot of money.”

Organising secretary Graham Ford added: “It’s fair to say that we’ve not made any submissions for funding in two or three years, so we could perhaps look at other funding sources.”

The next item on the agenda was the election of office bearers, with Mr Monaghan, Mr Ford and Mrs McDonald continuing in their respective roles, and Katrina Lowrie coming on board as minute secretary. Those who stood down from the committee were former chairman Raymond Wood, Amanda Nichol, Dawn Robson, Karen McHugh and June Turnbull. Cameron Robson had already resigned prior to the AGM.

Mr Monaghan brought the evening to a close by thanking everyone for their attendance, and said the next meeting, to which members of the public are welcome, will be held on January 19 in the Catholic hall at 7pm.