Search

Police gala day is axed

PUBLISHED: 08:47 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:42 03 July 2010

IT HAS been hailed as the biggest event of its kind in the country and became a fixture of the county's social calendar - but yesterday Norfolk police announced it was axing its annual gala day.

IT HAS been hailed as the biggest event of its kind in the country and became a fixture of the county's social calendar - but yesterday Norfolk police announced it was axing its annual gala day.

A police spokeswoman said the gala, which began 31 years ago, had become a victim of its own success as it grew beyond its original aim of showcasing the force's work to become a major event which no longer represented value for money.

Despite attracting thousands of visitors to the Norfolk Showground and raising funds for charity, the gala has always operated at a loss. And, although the force is looking at smaller scale events to replace it, the message last night was: “We are not in the entertainment business.”

Communications director Anne Campbell said: “Police gala day has been a huge amount of fun but it was time to review. One of the issues is the sheer size of the event and the challenges that organising an event on that scale brings.

“We want the public to want to find out more about how their police service works and we plan opportunities that will enable them to take a closer look at what we do and how we do it.

“Over the years gala day has become something which should have been organised by a specialist events company and we had to ask ourselves whether we are reaching the kind of people we need to reach in the way we need to reach them.”

She added that the decision was partly due to the need to cut costs. In recent years the event has operated at a loss of more than £11,000 although bosses have always insisted that the promoting the force and raising money for charity was more important than making a profit. In 2006 the event cost £47,000 to run - £20,000 of this covered the cost of hiring the showground.

Ideas for alternative events include a smaller scale open day at the force's Wymondham headquarters or piggy backing on the back of existing events, such as the Aylsham show.

The decision also spells the end of an era for the police's partnership with BBC Radio Norfolk car rally partnership.

Radio Norfolk editor David Clayton said: “I never thought the Old Car Rally would run beyond the first year, but 27 rallies further on, the event has grown far beyond its original intention into a major celebration of transport from far outside the county boundaries. “With Norfolk police re-focussing on their gala day activities, it's a chance to look again at how we reflect Norfolk's love of classic cars. As a radio station we plan to be out and about this summer at many of the county's major events and I'm sure some of those will feature classic cars.”

The BBC Radio Norfolk Old Car Rally started as an event on its own, but combined with the Police Gala Day in 1984. Over the years more classic vehicles like buses, commercial vehicles and car clubs have joined in.

Mr Clayton said: “There are plans for a similar event being talked about which will hopefully pick up on the spirit started by the police gala day and old car rally.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury