For once, it didn't rain on the day of the annual Rae Gala and I wasn't doing anything else, so I managed to get along and enjoy the atmosphere. It is organised by the Friends of Northcliffe Park, to celebrate the wonderful gift of the park to the people of Shipley, by the landowner Sir Norman Rae in the 1920s. It's good, wholesome, family fun, with many local organisations providing stalls and activities.
Music was provided by the Hall Royd Brass Band:
A group of ladies known as Northwind demonstrated tribal bellydance (below), which looked rather fun and was very colourful, and a local group demonstrated T'ai Chi.
Activities for the children included making (and bursting) huge soap bubbles:
and various (good, old-fashioned) races like the sack race:
For the even more energetic, you could make yourself a fruit smoothie by pedalling a static bike:
For the less energetic visitors, rides were provided by Bradford Model Engineering Society on the two miniature railways they operate in Northcliffe Woods, which also usually run on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer.
All that, plus ferret racing, face painting, ice cream and various food stalls, made for a very good afternoon out. At a small local event, there is always the bonus that you bump into lots of people that you know, so there is time for chatting and catching up on news. Shipley rocks!
The good news is that Northcliffe Park (which is a huge area of woodland, meadow, sports fields, allotments and a children's playground) is no longer on the list as a potential crematorium site for the locality. That means that the people of Shipley can continue to enjoy the park as 'an open space for recreation and benefit of the public, forever' as was intended in the original bequest. Now, that is worth celebrating.