The Skipton and District Cottage Hospital had been built at the time of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee but the funding was proving very difficult. The decision was made to hold a gala to raise money for the hospital, and a committee was formed from many local people. The first gala took place on Saturday 13th July 1901 on the Brick Buildings Fields off Bailey Road.
The gala commenced with a “Grand Procession”, including the “Public Bodies of the Town”, “Trade Societies”, cars, cyclists, comic bands and six other bands. Prizes for various classes in the procession were donated by “The Gentry and Tradesmen of the Town”. Circus acts entertained on the field together with a Punch & Judy and Keighley Parish Church Athletic Team. Extra trains ran from miles around to enable people to get to the grand event.
A huge crowd joined in the fun and the whole day was a great success; so much so that it was decided to have a Hospital Day every year. Many locals joined in the organising of the gala with several sub-committees to help with the work involved.
After the NHS was formed the hospital was funded from central government so the gala continued with the profits going to local charities.
Today a small group keep the tradition of the gala going and continue to support local organisations. Any helpers are always welcome both on the day and in the organisation of the event.