Gala queen refuses to let the wheels come off special day

The smashed carriage
The smashed carriage
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NOTHING was going to drag gala girl Emma Forrest away from her big day, not even wild horses.

Emma, aged 11, was delighted when she was chosen to be the queen of this year’s Uphall Gala day.

Emma and her ladies-in-waiting soldier on

Emma and her ladies-in-waiting soldier on

But as she and her two ladies in waiting rode through the village on a horse-drawn carriage to the crowning ceremony, one of the horses veered erratically off course.

The sudden movement caused one of the carriage wheels to come off, and the three Uphall Primary School pupils were thrown from the carriage to the horror of onlookers.

Adults rushed to the aid of the girls, but they simply brushed themselves off and completed the rest of the journey on foot with smiles on their faces.

Emma’s parents, Fiona Campbell and Andrew Forrest, travelled by car to the community centre where the ceremony was to take place, and only learned of the accident when Emma arrived.

“She was quite happy about walking because everyone could see her dress and her heels,” Ms Campbell said. “It never really bothered her. I think it was just unlucky.

“It could have worse but it wasn’t. When they told us what had happened we could see Emma was OK.

“She was fine for the rest of the day. Afterwards she just got changed and went to the park, then she went to a barbecue. She’s back at school and I’m sure they’ll all be talking about it.”

After arriving at the community centre, one lady in waiting was taken to St John’s Hospital for treatment of a strained neck muscle, but was soon released.

Gordon McBrearty, who was acting as a photographer at the gala, said: “I heard a commotion and a roar from the crowd, and all I could see was the carriage on its side. One of the ladies in waiting was clinging on and I couldn’t see the other two girls.

“Then they were all standing by the side of the road, laughing and giggling. As quick as it had happened it was finished. Quite a few members of the crowd had grabbed hold of the carriage.

“In two minutes they were walking at the front of the procession. I thought the three lassies were pretty cool about it all, they just got up and carried on.”

The girls led the procession to the community centre, where the new queen was finally crowned an hour later than scheduled.

Police officers took statements from witnesses following the accident. It is believed that one of the horses had bitten the other, causing it to rear up, and overturning the carriage.

Mr McBrearty added: “It wasn’t until we got to the community centre that people really thought about what happened. They were in shock.”

A police spokesman said: “Local officers who were on patrol during the Uphall Gala day on Saturday assisted three female youths who fell from a horse-drawn carriage after a wheel broke off.

“No-one was seriously injured. However, one girl was taken to St John’s Hospital and later released after suffering a muscle strain in her neck.”