A YEAR of planning came to fruition for Benarty Events Group which saw over 11,000 people visit Lochore Meadows Country Park for the annual Pipe Band Competition and Gala over one weekend.

The weather was fantastic for both events and the venue was idealic in the sunshine.

A fantastic group of volunteers were ready and willing as always to make things happen and their efforts produced brilliant results on both days.

The Events Group have been involved with various successful ventures in the Benarty Area for five years and they have went from strength to strength.

Last year group added Rockore Music Festival to their already busy yearly schedule. This includes The Pipe Band Competition, the Annual Gala, Christmas Celebrations and now Rockore and massive planning goes into every event.

The Gala preparations starts as soon the previous gala ends and every committee person has a job no matter how small.

Events co-ordinator, Shona MacKenzie, does all the legalities and paper work. James Fotheringham oversees the parade and field organising. Tom Kinnaird handles all the vendors and stalls, making sure all the licences and insurances are in place. Kevin Payne organises all the plant needed for the Events and identifies and books the bands for Rockore.

Michael Moore works tirelessly on the raffles and tea tents along with Isabell McShane and Kathleen Donnachie.

Group photographer is Billy McKean along with Bobby Hodge, and additional photography is done by Derek Johnstone.

Child liaison is done by Sarah Bell and press liaison is done by Eddie Easson.

Meanwhile Mary Nardone controls all the finances of the group. And elder states people, Willie Clarke and Brian Menzies, are always on hand for advice and guidance.

Eddie Easson said this week: "This year was harder especially with the Pipe Band Competition, due to circumstances outwith our control.

"With help from The RSPBA, the event was one of the best to date. We realise the competition will never attract the mass bands of the major championships but plans are afoot for a major revamp of next year's event with important input from The RSPBA".

Added Eddie: "Our gala this year was the biggest and best on record, with approximately 8,000 people there on the day.

"We extended the fairground rides substantially. Our gala is always the same time every year and it coincides with Armed Forces Day and we always recognise their contribution to our country in years gone by. This year’s gala was no different.

"As always we keep the costs to the minimum for families who want to attend and we have families who come from all over the Kingdom. Our price for a gala ticket hasn’t changed for 5 years it has stayed at £2. For this the purchaser gets a Bayne's gala box, a rides wrist band which entitles the purchaser to get on all rides at the park and inflatables, free. "This year there was nearly 3,000 sold".

He went on: "On the Saturday a group from Rosyth made themselves known to us and told us they come every year for a great day out for their kids at a price they could afford as they were on low incomes.

"This makes the group's efforts all the more worthwhile because we know we have families in our area in the same circumstances.

"The Pipe Band and Gala this year will cost the Group in the region of £35,000. Like the Pipe Band Competition there are plans in motion already for next year for improvements, we listen to ideas and suggestions from the public".

Christmas time is a special time for The Benarty Events Group. They start the festivities off with the Festive Lights switch-on then Santa parade. Said Eddie: "Our Christmas Fayre is always a big success with The Santa Grotto.

"All primary school children enjoyed a day out to a pantomime again and this is totally financed by BEG. We try to create memories for these children who might never ever get the chance to visit a theatre.

"Where does all the money come from to do all these events without substantial grants you might ask.

"The majority of the money comes from the generous Benarty public who every week take part in the Benarty Community Lottery. The Lottery Jackpot currently stands at a whopping £7,300.

"When you apply for grants and you show you have money in the bank you are declined. It could be said you are penalised for being successful. "We also have a great many sponsors who may not help financially but are always on hand with plant and materials and again the Group realise that money is tight for all businesses.

"Our latest venture, Rockore, was a great success last year and hopefully this year's will replicate the year before. Ticket sales are going well with Claire Grogan’s Altered Images the headline act.

"These briefs can be bought at Benarty Community Shop, Domestic Bliss or the ticket selling site Skiddle".

The Group would like to thank the following businesses, groups and individuals for their continued support The Purvis Group, Owen Buchanan Builders, Benarty Centre Management, Mr Willie Clarke, Ballingry Ladbrokes staff, George Rowley, Craigie Bar, Kingdom Housing Association, Benarty Community Council, Benarty Credit Union, John Gilfillan Funeral Directors, Davy & Anna Miller, Rowebb, Regal Rubber, Benarty Medical Centre, Cartmore Building Supplies, Ore Valley Housing Association, Domestic Bliss, Coop Cars, Costcutters Crosshill, Community Shop, Benarty Centre, Cowdenbeath Area Committee, Pressure Wash & Platform, Peter McGuire, Chuck Buchanan, Stephen McMaihin, The Copeland Family and Outpost Charity.