For Corporal Wayne Stavert it was all in the line of duty – just a world away from his day job.
The young soldier was called in for a very special role when he arrived in full military uniform to crown his niece Louise Ashton as the new Catterall Gala Queen.
Louise 10, attends Kirkland and Catterall St Helen’s School and Georgia Wilkes was her Rosebud.
In fact the Gala was a right royal occasion, with eight visiting Queens from neighbouring town and villages.
Catterall’s Retiring Queen Niamh McShannon, 11, was present along with her Rosebud Eleanor Gardner.
The procession was led off by morris dancers and Pilling Brass Band and included a royal line-up of Catterall’s own and many visiting Wyre Gala and Festival Queens.
For the first time a new Shield was presented for the best motorised float in memory of young Catterall resident Matthew Hesmondalgh.
The Gala was blessed by Father Anthony Keefe from St Thomas the Apostle, Claughton. The Rev. Canon Ron Greenall, President of the Gala Committee was the official opener.
Canon Grenall told the crowd: “We are unique in Catterall with age long and unique traditions of village life. If we live in Catterall, what are we? Cats is the word ....members of a caring, amiable, thoughtful, sincere village community … spelling CATS.”
But he issued a reminder too: “We can also use our claws through the ballot box if our amenities and facilities are in danger of being taken away from us.”
Canon Greenall declared afterwards: “There was fantastic attendance, fun, fellowship, fairground and food and of course fantastic weather for this real community event.”
The Boddingtons Belles entertained the crowd with a traditional morris dance and attractions included raffle, tombola and fairground.
Catterall Gala Chairman Mark Lawson’s verdict summed up the success of the Gala, which was attended by local VIPs including Garstang Mayor Chris Ryan and the Deputy Mayor of Wyre Coun. Julie Anderson and her consort, husband Philip and many local councillors. He said: “Another Brilliant Gala supported by the local community. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. Thank you to everyone who helped make the day a success.”
The Gala concluded with a family barbecue in the evening.
Full list of prizewinners from annual gala
Visiting Queens: Sammy Jo Milner – Bilsborrow; Laura Gorst-Calder Vale; Freya Monks – Churchtown; Rachel Kellet – Cockerham; Garstang – Laura Addison; Garstang St Thomas’ - Elizabeth Johnson; Nateby – Jennifer Walton; St Michael’s – Laura Billington; Forton - Eve Taylor
The Fancy Dress contest was judged by Keith and Elaine Tricket.
Results: 8 – 11 years; 1st The Findus Horse - John Bell, 2nd Lost Musketeer - Nathan Halford
Groups; 1st The Three Musketeers - Aaron Lancaster, William and Matthew Cocks, 2nd PJ and Duncan - Chloe and James Bush
The Charlotte Cup for best girl in fancy dress - Chloe Bush.
The Stuart Longton trophy for best boy in fancy dress - Nathan Halford.
The floats were judged by Paula Hesmondhalgh and Kath Wrathall.
Motorised: 1st Jolly Roger Pirates of Penzance - Kirkland and Catterall St Helen’s School, 2nd The Old Woman who lived in a shoe - Bleasdale School, 3rd Happy Feet - Garstang Pre-School
Walking: 1st 50 years of Dr Who - Garstang County Primary, 2nd Bee Happy - St Mary & Michael’s
The Arrow Taxi trophy for the most original - Reach For The Stars - Claughton St Mary’s
Seven teams entered the football tournament with the final between Kirkland and Catterall (last year’s winners) and St. Thomas’.
St Thomas won 1- 0 and the team was presented with the Ruth Thornton Memorial trophy by new Gala Queen Louise Ashton. St Thomas’: Matthew Rosckell, Danny Porter, Thomas Speak, Joel Tompkins, Joel Wilding, Luke Tyson, Joey Strawn, Lewis Danson and Jack Myerscough. With Thomas Speak scoring the only goal.
Kirkland and Catterall: Kyle Brown, Tom Hanson, Thomas Singleton, Matthew Cocks, William Cocks, Jack Howard and Aaron Lancaster.