Addingham'S gala is under threat this year as an urgent search is on for a new chairman to organise the summer event.

Colin Whitaker master-minded the annual day of festivities for the past five years but has now resigned because of the demands of his new tailoring business in Ilkley.

His wife, Sylvia, who also helped organise the highlight of the village's calendar, said they had far too many other commitments this year.

"We opened our new men's clothing shop in December and it takes up so much of our time and energy that we couldn't possibly start thinking about the gala as well," said Mrs Whitaker.

"Somebody with a lot of enthusiasm, who can come up with different ideas and put a lot of work and time into it, is needed now to take on the job of chairman. When Colin was chairman he made up all of the gala games, which were used in the past few years, and dedicated so much of his spare time to the event."

She added they had already received lots of calls from people wanting to book stalls for the day planned for Saturday, July 11.

The event, which is at least 40 years old, attracted 2,000 people last year who lined the streets to watch the parade pass through the village and up to the field by the Memorial Hall where entertainments and games were held.

Mrs Whitaker added: "We want a gala this year and we would help all we can with it, but we can't possibly give as much time as we did in the past - whoever takes over we are more than happy to help them."

For the past five years Mrs Whitaker helped make the dresses for the gala queen and her attendants and would also lend a hand at the disco.

She added: "There's more to the job of chairman than meets the eye. It's not just helping on the day, it's all the preparation leading up to it, such as selling programmes and arranging for groups to come along."

Addingham parish councillor Alan Jerome said everything possible must be done to make sure the event goes ahead.

"The gala is a part of village life and has been in existence for many more years than I have lived here. It would be a great shame if it doesn't continue," he said.

He added the gala was also a valuable source of funds for the Memorial Hall and raised around £2,000 every year for the Main Street building.

"I've written to both of the village schools' PTAs to see if any parents know someone who would like to join in and give their support," said Coun Jerome.

"The chairman was very much the instigator and organiser of the gala and we really need someone to start up a committee."

Council chairman Stephen Crossley-Smith said the gala was an essential part of the village calendar and should continue.

Anyone interested in taking on the role of chairman or helping out in general can contact Mr Whitaker on 830902.

Or write to Coun Jerome at Holme House, Low Mill Lane, Addingham, Ilkley, LS29 0PQ.

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