By Cara Sulieman
IT should be the biggest event in the calendar for the quiet East Lothian town of Tranent.
Floats, a Queen, cake stalls and laughter all go a long way to helping celebrate the town’s gala day.
But this Sunday’s celebrations have been marred by an unseemly war of words over a lack of bunting.
Ordinarily the tiny coloured flags would be brightening up the lampposts and streets already in time for the weekend fair.
Yet a lack of cash will see the decorations missing for the first time in the history of the historic event.
Head of the gala committee, Tom Logan, claims that they can’t afford to pay for the decorations this year and has criticised the local community council saying it should be their responsibility.
He said: “We try our best every year but it is getting harder to find money.
“Unless some angels arrive between now and the weekend there will be no flags on the High Street because we simply do not have the money.
“There’s bound to be more than a few people unhappy about this but we must stand our ground – it shouldn’t be our responsibility.
“If the community council can afford to put up lights at Christmas then I don’t see why they can’t do the same with bunting for the gala.”
Mr Logan added that putting up and taking down the bunting cost the gala committee over £1000 last year, and claimed he had approached Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council a number of times to ask for financial help.
But their head, Raymond Strang, said they have been “taken aback” by the comments and tthat his organisation had “no responsibility” for the bunting.
He said: “It is unfortunate that the gala committee has taken this view – I am a little taken aback at this claim against our group.
“Any organisations in the town are welcome to apply for funding for their groups.
“However, the community council already has a large mandate and responsibility to the local community and has no obligation to take any responsibility for erecting and dismantling bunting.
“I can sympathise with the gala committee’s plight as they are clearly short of funds, but this is not our responsibility.
“That would remain the case even if we had thousands of pounds in the bank.”
Last year the council charged the gala committee £1000 to put up and take down the bunting, with costs covered through fundraising by the committee.