A RECORD breaking afternoon was enjoyed in Buckden as the gala went ahead after a two-year hiatus, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Visitors were out in force and in record numbers to enjoy the afternoon on Saturday which included the fell race, where records were also broken.

The afternoon, which raises funds for Buckden Village Institute, followed the usual formula with a wide variety of stalls, children’s activities, a coconut shy and tombola. The beer tent was provided by the George Inn in Hubberholme, and the gala tea tent offered a fine selection of home-made baking; the legendary Buckden Hot-Dog stall was not to be missed.

As always, Mr Sport - Roger Ingham - provided both the ice-cream and his own unique style of commentary. Music was provided by Skipton Ukulele Club and local singer Laszlo Jakab, as well as Richard Hargreaves and Paul Stead of the Buttered Peas, whose set was in aid of Ukrainian refugees.

Sadly, there was no sheep show this year, but organisers are hopeful it will return for next year.

This year’s Buckden Pike Fell Race was a multi-championship event, featuring in the British, English and Yorkshire Senior & U23 Championships. This resulted in a much larger number of entries than usual with 100 finishers in the women’s race and 251 in the men’s race. The course is 3.7 miles long up Buckden Pike with a climb of 428 metres. The women’s race was won by Hannah Russell of Helm Hill Runners in a time of 37 minutes & 11 seconds. The winner of the men’s race was Finlay Wild of Lochaber Athletic Club whose time of 30 minutes 39 was 11 seconds faster than the previous record, which had stood for 30 years.

The dog show was popular as always and in a strong field Carole Toothill’s Walter took Best in Show, while other class winners included Charlie belonging to Phoebe Baylis, Louise Thompson’s Flin, Ellie Close’s Billie, Eve Lee’s Milo and Willow belonging to Sandra Kilvington.

Children’s races were also hotly-contested. The afternoon concluded with the grand draw with a range of excellent prizes and the now traditional egg-throwing competition as a finale.

All in all, a fantastic afternoon with the whole community working together to put on a memorable event to mark the emergence from the pandemic.

Next year’s gala will be held as usual on the 3rd Saturday in June - June 17 - a must for the diary.