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A final fiery farewell to Wick Gala Week – 'back at its brilliant best'. Community event pulls in over £13K in donations and there's still more to count


By David G Scott

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Wick Gala Week bonfire and fireworks display. Picture: DGS
Wick Gala Week bonfire and fireworks display. Picture: DGS

Wick Gala Week reached its conclusion on Saturday night with a bonfire and fireworks display that drew out hundreds of locals and visitors to Wick riverside.

Reflecting on the success of the annual event, which had been cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid restrictions, the Gala Committee chairman Alex McDonald said he could not believe the amount of support the event had received throughout the week.

Wick Gala Committee chair Alex McDonald said he was flabbergasted at how well the event went. Picture: DGS
Wick Gala Committee chair Alex McDonald said he was flabbergasted at how well the event went. Picture: DGS

"I was in the boating shed cooking kippers but I was able to see the display and was delighted that Mother Nature was kind to us with regards to the weather," said Mr McDonald.

"The bonfire had two years worth of wood collated from businesses that were keeping it ready for us. It was absolutely huge and it was still burning at quarter-to-four in the morning when we were cleaning up."

After a three-year hiatus the Gala Week bonfire is about to be lit by Les Grant. Picture: DGS
After a three-year hiatus the Gala Week bonfire is about to be lit by Les Grant. Picture: DGS
Les Grant from the Gala Committee torches the massive pile of wood that had accumulated from cancelled displays due to Covid. Picture: DGS
Les Grant from the Gala Committee torches the massive pile of wood that had accumulated from cancelled displays due to Covid. Picture: DGS
The bonfire takes hold and a slight breeze draws the flames across the huge structure. Picture: DGS
The bonfire takes hold and a slight breeze draws the flames across the huge structure. Picture: DGS
The bonfire made it look like the trees on a nearby island were on fire. Picture: DGS
The bonfire made it look like the trees on a nearby island were on fire. Picture: DGS

The chair said that the fireworks display was carried out once again by pyrotechnic specialist company Fireworx Scotland which went smoothly and provided a "brilliant end" to a successful week. "Over £13K has been taken in for the Gala so far and people are still giving in donations so we're busy counting it all up."

Wick Gala Week bonfire and fireworks display. Picture: DGS
Wick Gala Week bonfire and fireworks display. Picture: DGS
Drummers from Wick RBLS Pipe Band head a group consisting of the Gala Queen and her retinue along with children on a torchlight parade. Picture: DGS
Drummers from Wick RBLS Pipe Band head a group consisting of the Gala Queen and her retinue along with children on a torchlight parade. Picture: DGS
Drumming a path ahead. Picture: DGS
Drumming a path ahead. Picture: DGS
Wick pipe band drummers lead the way as the procession nears its end. Picture: DGS
Wick pipe band drummers lead the way as the procession nears its end. Picture: DGS

Mr McDonald added: "The feedback we've been getting has all been positive. It went really well and it was a great success. People were saying how pleased they were to see it back after such a long time."

At the bonfire event, many locals mimicked this sentiment, saying how delighted they were to be at such a community gathering after the two years of Covid restrictions.

Chair of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council Joanna Coghill said: "Wick Gala Week was outstanding. A full week of events, for all ages and abilities to enjoy. I was delighted to see such a great support and attendance from local folks and visitors to Wick.

"The packed programme was entertaining and much needed after a two year absence. 2022 Wick Gala was so well-planned and run by the Gala Committee, showing a great team effort had been made by volunteers. Well done guys, thoroughly enjoyed it."

Wick Gala Week bonfire and fireworks display. Picture: DGS
Wick Gala Week bonfire and fireworks display. Picture: DGS
Everything went with a bang. Picture: DGS
Everything went with a bang. Picture: DGS
Some of the finale fireworks. Picture: DGS
Some of the finale fireworks. Picture: DGS

Related article:

PICTURE and VIDEO special: Local reporter meets himself at gala parade. Triumphant return of Wick Gala Week with parade of floats – see if you're pictured in the gallery of over 100 pictures and 5 videos

And last but not least – a huge whizz-bang lights up the sky. Picture: DGS
And last but not least – a huge whizz-bang lights up the sky. Picture: DGS

Highland Councillor for Wick and East Caithness Willie Mackay reflected on the success of the week saying: "It was fantastic to see the Wick Gala back at its brilliant best.

"There was a tremendous turnout at the parade with lots or detail and topical themes on a great variety of floats. The foot collectors individually, and in groups, were amazing – dozens of them of all ages showing no lack of enthusiasm and really getting into the gala celebrations in their costumes.

"Congratulations to the hard-working voluntary committee who arranged an exciting week of events throughout, with the very popular well-attended Saturday evening bonfire, that was very much appreciated along with a superb fireworks display "

Hundreds of people turned up for the annual display of fireworks. Picture: DGS
Hundreds of people turned up for the annual display of fireworks. Picture: DGS
No bonfire night would be complete without a trip to the sideshows. Picture: DGS
No bonfire night would be complete without a trip to the sideshows. Picture: DGS
Many of the smaller stalls were back. Some of them are almost 100 years old but the prizes have been updated of course. Picture: DGS
Many of the smaller stalls were back. Some of them are almost 100 years old but the prizes have been updated of course. Picture: DGS
Gonks galore at the sideshows. Picture: DGS
Gonks galore at the sideshows. Picture: DGS
Wick Gala Week bonfire and fireworks display. Picture: DGS
Wick Gala Week bonfire and fireworks display. Picture: DGS

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