Could Chichester gala be revived for Queen?

The Purbrook team are, left to right, Jon Harvey, Elizabeth Norris and Peter Emmett

THIS WEEK IN 1975: Purbrook Park is a talking success

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A ONCE-popular gala event looks set to be revived to celebrate 60 years of the Queen’s reign.

Chichester’s annual Gala Day, started more than half a century ago, could make a comeback next year to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

The event was founded in 1955 by the late Leslie Evershed-Martin, and was a popular attraction in the city for many years.

The Queen was a visitor to Chichester shortly after the 1956 Gala Day, accompanied by Prince Philip.

She inspected a military guard of honour in Priory Park, and the main streets were decorated for the occasion, with thousands of people turning out to see her.

Now community leaders are planning a revival of the Gala Day.

Chichester City Council’s community affairs committee agreed to pencil in the date of Saturday, June 2, next year for the big day.

It backed a proposal by chairman Cllr David Siggs that a working group should be formed – which would include both city councillors and representatives of local organisations – to take the gala plans forward.

Cllr Siggs said: ‘The idea will be to produce a memorable day for everyone in the city.’

The initial concept of the gala was to brighten up Chichester.

Its traditional emblem was the cornflower and thousands of these were sold over the years in aid of charity.

A gala queen presided over the event.

The biggest Gala Day attraction in its heyday was a parade of carnival floats and there were also arena events in Priory Park.