Youngsters enjoy their gala day out in the sun

Fisher King Miko Sulek and Gala Queen Mhairi Thomson arrive at the harbour. Picture: Greg Macvean

Fisher King Miko Sulek and Gala Queen Mhairi Thomson arrive at the harbour. Picture: Greg Macvean

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THOUSANDS turned out in bright sunshine at the weekend for the rapidly growing Newhaven Gala Day celebrating the history and heritage of the area.

The event was re-established four years ago, thanks in the main to the present headteacher of Victoria Primary School, Laura Thomson, and all the children involved are pupils at the school.

The festivities began at the harbour with crowds welcoming the “royal” launch and the accompanying flotilla as it sailed into the harbour bearing Gala Queen Mhairi Thomson and Fisher King Miko Sulek.

Protocol dictates that they, along with their supporters and crown bearers, are welcomed ashore by dignitaries, before a guard of honour and piper escorts them along Newhaven Main Street to Victoria Primary. The procession largely reflected the area’s marine heritage, with boys and girls dressed as fishermen and fishwives accompanied by a childrens’ choir.

On arrival at the school, Mhairi was crowned in front of hundreds of onlookers, with the honours this year being carried out by former Gala Queen Jean Haigh.

A whole host of fun activities included a bouncy castle, stalls, games, raffles and a favourite for the kids, splat the policeman in the stocks with wet sponges. A Samba band seemed appropriate in the bright sunshine.

The aim of the event to ensure the history of Newhaven is not forgotten, whether it be the proud fact that Victoria Primary can boast of being the oldest working school in Edinburgh, the connection with King James IV who ordered the building of the biggest and most powerful warship of its day, or local traditions such as the Free Fishermen Society.