FIFTY six years ago a member of Colne Borough Brass Band came up with the idea of holding a parade in the town as a way of getting the community together.

Known then as Colne Carnival, the event, which is now called Colne Gala, has taken place annually nearly every year since. Much like what is held now, the original carnival featured a procession through the town featuring a range of floats, leading up to Alkincoats Park where the fair was held.

However the procession route was changed due to problems controlling traffic.

Donald Leaver, secretary and treasurer of the gala committee has been involved with it since 1960. He said: “When the Colne Carnival first began the procession used to be very popular with a lot of the mills that were still in the towns having their own floats, as well as the church Sunday school groups and other groups.

“The procession would also feature the Colne Borough Brass Band as well as various other bands including a jazz band and morris dancers, it was a really big affair.

“The fair had some traditional rides, a beer tent, as well as sports such as football and morris dancing competitions.

“The event would run late into the night so we used car headlights so we could see.”

The Colne Carnival continued to run every year from 1958 until 1978 when the committee disbanded.

The event started back up again in 1981 but the name was changed to Colne Gala.

However in 1999 the committee disbanded once again and the gala was not held until 2004.

When it was started up once again the fair was moved to Holt House after a dispute with Pendle Council over drainage at Alkincoats Park.

Colne Gala now takes place each year on the third Saturday in June.

Donald added: “The gala still features a parade in the town, though the route has been changed because of issues with police not being able to block roads off.

“In recent years we have not had as many floats as we used to, but we are hoping that next year we might be able to attract more to join in the parade.

“At one time we used to be able to get celebrities to open the fair and we have tried to get some in recent years but they cost too much.”

The most recent gala took place on Saturday, June 21, and featured entertainment which included Water Brass Band, a tug-of-war, stuntman Joseph Peace, Colne’s Got Talent, and live music from Cover It.

Donald added: “The gala was a huge success with hundreds of people attending, we hope that the gala will continue for many more years to come.”