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2017 (56TH) GAMES

From the Lesmahagow Highland Games Chairman...

A big thanks to everyone who made the 2017 Lesmahagow Highland Games day such a success...

We were fortunate indeed to have had yet another day of glorious sunshine at the 'Gow, for at least the third year running. Crowds lined the main street and we saw one of the longest and best Chieftain's processions in many a year. The efforts that went in to the floats and fancy dress truly exceeded all expectations!

This year we had four bands in the procession, this proved to be very popular and I can tell you that the bands loved the experience, hopefully to be repeated in future years.

A total of 259 children of the village took part in the procession and every one of them was awarded £5 in cash to spend at the Games - this is just one of the things that the committee spends the income from the beer tent and other fundraisers on - please remember this when you buy your programmes, beers in the beer tent and raffle tickets!

The ground staff made a fantastic job of The Glebe, and the park looked absolutely stunning on Saturday, the grass was just beautiful! A big thanks to you all, guys...

Chieftain Mags Cathcart looked splendid indeed, clad in her highland dress as she headed the procession, accompanied not only by myself but by trusted best friend 'Bud' for the second half of the march. What you may not have realised was that Pipe Major Donald Williams and the Coalburn IOR stopped outside of Matthew Sneddon Bakers to play a specially written composition to honour the memory of our 40th Chieftain Matthew Sneddon, who recently passed away. The pipes & drums' rendering of Sally's Song in the presence of Sally Sneddon truly produced one of the more emotional moments of the day...

The court of the Tartan Queen - Tartan Princesses Millie & Carly, with Clansmen Mark & Cayden all played their part with enthusiasm, excitement, and seemingly endless energy, right through 'til the end of the Ceilidh at midnight, and Tartan Queen Sarah's arrival with the Princesses in her Dad Scott's vintage classic car proved to be one of the 'wow moments' of the day without doubt...

After the formalities of the Crowning, the village was entertained by the six pipe bands competing in the RSPBA contest, the heavyweights competition and the Funtastica Dance Schools highland dancing display. Big crowds gathered to watch each of the top billing events, and we saw a huge number of entries too at the junior athletics competition, where many, many Lesmahagow Highland Games medallions were given away, memories for the placed youngsters to treasure through the years ahead...

On the one day of the year that Lesmahagow becomes very cosmopolitan, I met travellers from Germany, Seattle, (USA), and Holland. We also accommodated a bus load of twenty or more visitors from France who were here to say 'Allo, Allo'!... trying to explain how 'tossing the caber' works in schoolboy French proved a challenge too far for myself and Davie Rollo!
However the complimentary nips of malt whisky seemed to do all the talking!

The heat of the afternoon saw more than a couple of pipers actually withdraw from their bands due to 'heat fatigue' in a new 'first' for the village, but the pipers piped, the drummers drummed and the dancers all danced as otherwise expected..

As always, the highlight at the end of the day is the assembly of the massed pipe bands as they salute the Chieftain with 'Heilan Laddie' before prize-giving. This year at 5pm, we also saw three bands 'beating the retreat' along the Abbeygreen, in another big highlight of the day.

The Chieftain's Ball at Hollandbush proved very popular, particularly with the youngsters once again showing up their parents by demonstrating all of the correct 'moves' for the Ceilidh Scottish dances...!

The 'Gow once again fell silent long after midnight, with 'mony a sair heed' and lots of happy memories of another great day in the sunshine...

If you visited the Games, we hope you all enjoyed yourself. Please don't hesitate to give us feedback on any aspect of the Games, both successes and opportunities for next year. Please also bear in mind that we have a small band of very dedicated committee members which currently number under ten - we would like to make further enhancements but are prevented from so-doing due to low numbers. We have lots of other people to whom we are very grateful that provide Games Day help (eg Games Week events, erection of tents & beer tent staffing), but we REALLY DO need more people to join the committee this year. The current committee has secured the viability and running of YOUR HIGHLAND GAMES for the last seven years, but it's high time that we had some new additions. (note - we don't have many meetings through the year, and they are never lengthy - please look out for details of the AGM and think hard about coming along!

Thanks to all of our supporters and sponsors - whether you donated a raffle prize, dressed your shop window, put an advert in the programme, or just helped us out with lots of other things... and my very special thanks to Secretary Lynn Callan, Treasurer David Rollo, and all of our committee members who made the 2017 Games such a big, big success - well done to you all !

See you all next year

David Abercrombie
Lesmahagow Highland Games Society
18th June 2017

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