It had been in the planning for months, the crew were out all day Saturday and up early doors on Sunday putting together last minute preparations for the 2016 Girvan RNLI Harbour Gala, by midday everything had come together.
Everyone was in place, there was nothing more we could do, with it having been consistently raining on and off most of the morning, everyone had fingers and toes crossed that mother nature would be favourable on what is traditionally one of Girvan’s largest community events and indeed Girvan Lifeboat’s major fundraising event of the year.
It was noon, and the Girvan All-weather lifeboat ‘Silvia Burrell’ and crew arrived into the harbour with the Civic Royal Party consisting of Aimee McClurkin (Queen) Emma Mooney (Lady in waiting) Christian McDonald (Squire) and local councillors being piped from the boat by Piper Andrew Murphy signalling the start of the day’s events.
The party made their way to our compere Willie Pettigrew’s tent for some brief words and the official opening.
Despite the ever threatening rain that showed face more often than we would have liked, the crowds turned out in good numbers and soon each of the areas were bustling with people and the RNLI stalls and Guild Fundraising Team were kept busy with the RNLI shop, Tombola, Raffle, Bottle Stalls, treasure map and home baking as well as our Tea, Coffee and Burger stalls, providing much needed refreshments for everyone, whilst RNLI Mascot Stormy Stan integrated well with the crowds.
Further along the promenade were Owl Magic, with a spectacular array of birds on display, followed by our Emergency Services area, with the local Fire Brigade, Coastguard Rescue teams and Galloway Mountain Rescue being as popular as ever, and the large array of fairground rides were very busy and as always the kiddies favourite.
The lifeboat itself was open for tours and proved very popular throughout the day, whilst Matt Wilson and Friends provided Live Music, elsewhere things were heating up in the raft race, with the teams having to navigate their way around the marker buoys, whilst trying their best to avoid our Crews waiting obstacles or booby traps would be a better way of putting it, despite multiple soakings from our Fire Hoses and some turbulence created by one of the crew on his jet ski, they battled through with Jimmy’s Angels being the overall winners.
With the raft race over the crew’s attention turned to the Rescue Display, soon the volunteer crew and Lifeboat were making their way at speed out of the harbour into the bay, whilst the crowds gathered at the shorefront in the overcast distance the distant drone could be heard of H.M. Coastguards Rescue Helicopter approaching.
Several simulated extractions of casualties from the lifeboat to the Helicopter were carried out to the delight of the crowd, before the Lifeboat returned to Harbour with the Helicopter following the lifeboat into port before completing a hover and brief flypast before returning to base.
A spokesman for Girvan Lifeboat said: “The lifeboat crew would like to thank everyone involved in making this year’s harbour gala another success and despite the weather literally putting a damper on things at times, the community came together and generously helped us in raising £1790 on the day to which we thank each and every one of them for coming out to support us, without you we could not do what we do.”