Young People Sought For Prestigious Calderdale Title

HALIFAX CALDER ROTARY CLUB are preparing to receive auditions from teenagers across the town for the popular roles of Gala Queen & Attendant.

Young people who will be aged between 12 and 18 years on Gala Day who are eager to promote the community and be a goodwill ambassador for the town will be invited to audition for the role. Entrants will be judged on their personality and enthusiasm, and must live, work or attend school in the Calderdale area.

Previous holders of the prestigious title have been an integral part of community events, for example switching on Christmas lights, opening new buildings, and being invited as guests of honour to occasions at the theatre.

But despite previous connections to other competitions, the Gala Queen role is not a beauty pageant. Recent Gala Queens have been engaged with their local communities, the environment & the world around them, and want to make a positive difference in Calderdale. By becoming Gala Queen or the Attendant, they become ambassadors for the local area, so must be polite, courteous & respectful, as they meet & speak to a lot of different types of people.

Any girls interested in becoming The Gala Queen on Saturday 13th June should email galaqueen@halifaxgala.org.uk or call Elaine on 07960 770675 before Tuesday 31st March 2020.

Elaine Bowers, of Halifax Calder Rotary Club added, "This is the fifth year that we're arranged the Gala Queen competition, a tradition which we're proud to be keeping alive in Calderdale."

"We have opened it up to any young person, not just 'girls', and have focused our selection on what really matters - the personality of the individual, meaning that everyone who applies has a chance, no matter what their background, how pretty they are, who their friends are or whether they're doing well in school or not."

Background

Since its inception in 1957, Halifax Charity Gala has had a Gala Queen annually until the 44th Gala in 2000 before being abandoned in favour of an “ambassador” in 2001, which was soon dropped due to lack of uptake. The role of Gala Queen became less desirable at that time, and was difficult to organise, so it was decided by the Committee of the time to postpone the competition, despite valiant attempts to keep the Gala Queen as a key part of the day. Most recently, at the 53rd Gala in 2009, Sophie Farrell was Gala Queen, with the position continuing for a another year; there was a Gala Prince & Princess at the 55th Gala in 2011.

In the 1950s it was the usual thing for such events to have a local person as a figurehead for the event/day. This was in the form of a Gala/Rose/etc Queen. It was the task of a member of the Gala organising committee to stage an event where local girls/young ladies aged approximately 16–25 years could enter a competition to become the Gala Queen for the event. The competition was such that the Gala Queen and two attendants were chosen for the day.

The competition was not specifically a beauty/talent competition, it was more about a person who had the right attitude, commitment and desire to become the Gala Queen. Through the 50/60/70s the event was so successful that in some years there was a need to run two qualifying heats and a final over 3 days. The competition was run at various venues through the years from local hotels, Bingo Halls to the Halifax Play House.

The Gala Queen was a fundamental part of the Halifax Charity Gala. They would lead the Gala Parade through Halifax to Manor Heath, be part of the opening ceremony, judge the best stall and hand out prizes to various winners through the day. In addition the Gala Queen could be asked to attend events hosted by the various member Charities through the year and also be present in the procession of other local Galas eg Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge, etc. Previous holders of the prestigious title have been an integral part of community events, for example switching on Christmas lights, opening new buildings, and being invited as guests of honour to occasions at the theatre. Historically, Galas have always had Gala Queens, and Halifax is excited to see the return of this important part of the event. Their final duty was to be part of the following year’s competition where they would hand over the sash and crown to the new Gala Queen.

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