SHEENA Sheerin, a long-serving volunteer with the East Linton Gala, is stepping down from her role with the organisation after 21 years.
Sheena, 48, of Orchardfield, grew up in the village and first volunteered her support when her children were young, as the gala had always been there for her enjoyment and there was everything from fancy dress and an art competition to pet shows and football tournaments to arrange.
Over the years her responsibilities grew as she took over looking after the gala court, washing and ironing the costumes and training the children for their big day at the crowning ceremony.
“It is not just the children in the gala court that enjoy the event, it’s their families as well,” she said.
Sheena decided it was time to give up her duties as she was working full-time at the East Linton-based Linton Wines @ The Deli and did not have the same flexibility to help.
But she stressed that giving up was difficult, adding: “It was a very hard decision to make.”
She has pledged to keep on helping with the event in future if needed, and said she would work on until a replacement was found.
And she urged more people in the local community to get involved in making the event a big success.
“Even if people can give half an hour to help with the gala it can make an immense difference,” she said.
“To me it is a community event that brings everyone together — the young ones and older people. Even in torrential rain, people still turned out to support it and see the queen being crowned. We also had a lovely fun day in August with families sitting in the sunshine and children playing.”
She admitted she leaves with just one regret – not getting her photograph taken with each gala queen she trained.
Local councillor Paul Mclennan paid tribute to Sheena’s work, saying: “Although I didn’t know Sheena personally, I am aware of her involvement with the gala. I am sure that the residents of East Linton are grateful for the efforts she has made to ensure a successful gala day
“It is people like Sheena who are the unsung heroes of their own communities.”
David Hamilton-Smith, secretary of the East Linton Gala organising committee, added: “Sheena is fantastic and over the last few years she has been the heart and soul of the gala. She does all the work with the queen and the float and really she helps make the gala what it is.”