The 2017 North Mundham Gala and Flower Show will be held on Saturday 15th July. The Gala is considered to have started in 1892, making this the 125th event. The exact date it started is perhaps a little hazy and there is some evidence of church fêtes in the Vicarage Garden before then. The 1892 date however, has become the accepted date and commemorative mugs were made in 1992 to celebrate the 100th anniversary.
Over the years the Gala moved from the vicarage garden to other locations in the Parish, including the Walnut Tree and the Village Hall which used to be in Church Lane, opposite Palmer Place. The modern Gala and Flower Show, in July, was re-established in 1970 by Evelyn Nicholson. The Gala we know today, moved onto the Playing Fields in School Lane in 1980. Incremental changes have taken place since then, but the Gala has remained true to the ethos of providing an opportunity for the community to enjoy a day in the sunshine. Although, some of you may remember, heavy rain was introduced in 2012 – we will try not to repeat as is was a bit of a wash out. Community spirit abounded and there was a spectacular array of wellies and umbrellas that year. Nothing was allowed to spoil the fun.
At the Gala, locals and visitors are able to enjoy fine displays of flowers, fruit, vegetables and arts and crafts in the main marquee. Attractions, live music, rides, vintage vehicles, the dog show and various stalls selling, cakes, plants, fruit, vegetables, books and refreshments (including a Pimms tent) are available for all to enjoy. In other words, a traditional village fête, derived from the French word meaning holiday, when people can relax and have fun.
Well, not quite everyone can relax and the great success of Galas past have relied on an army of dedicated and loyal volunteers who help set up and run the event. Without this merry band of people, the Gala could not take place and their continued commitment is a testament of great community spirit generated by a diverse group of people working together.
Over the years many people have entered exhibits and compete to win the coveted cups and trophies. The list of names on those trophies is a Who’s Who of past and present residents in the parish and surrounding areas. Some of the trophies record names back over 70 years. Names like JR Lunnen (1947), CH Redford (1957), Mrs D Marshall (1967), Miss K Ventura & BV Linkhorn (1977), Mrs K Pullen (1987), Mr F N Attrill (1997) and Mrs J Whiting (2007), to name but a few. Which names will appear on our trophies in 2017? Could it be yours?
The Gala starts at 2:00pm. For several years we have asked notable parishioners to formally open the event, where on the day they are treated as our Guest of Honour. Among the growing list of distinguished people was a lady called Pam James who had lived in the village all her life. She was able to remember entering exhibits in the Gala in 1934 just over 40 years after it all began.
It is, as yet, unknown if this year will be a wet or dry Gala. However, whether it’s shorts or welly weather, the Gala will go ahead. We are now fortunate to have more covered areas than ever before and so fun and laughter, music and smiles will carry on regardless.
See you on Saturday 15th July!
Tim Smith, Chairman Mundham Gala and Flower Show
This article first appeared in the May 2017 issue of ‘connect‘ magazine and the 22 June 2017 Chichester Observer.