Civic week equals civic pride ... here’s to the next 50 years!

Community spirit has been at the beating heart of Kilsyth Civic Week for the past 50 years, pictured are last year's overall winners
Community spirit has been at the beating heart of Kilsyth Civic Week for the past 50 years, pictured are last year's overall winners

It has spectacularly showcased all that it is great about Kilsyth for a truly golden 50 years now.

And as dedicated volunteers get ready to kick off this year’s Kilsyth Civic Week on Saturday, June 9, there is a particular sense of civic pride and people power ingrained into those five decades of fun.

This year’s theme is quite simply Kilsyth Civic Week: Past, Present and Future.

As for preparations, there is event organisation and then there’s civic week!

One individual who is absolutely synonymous with the event is long-term Kilsyth councillor and North Lanarkshire provost Jean Jones, who has been civic week secretary since 1986.

Jean said:“In 1984 I was watching the parade and complained about the lack of floats.

“Somebody said: ‘what have you done to make it work?’ and I said nothing but vowed to do something the next year – I’m still here!

“Over the years we have seen the popularity of parade participation come and go but the park has always been mobbed on the day.

“We have tried various venues and while Colzium is the most picturesque, the logistics are better in the Burngreen.

“Every year it becomes harder to fundraise but with a small, yet very hard-working, committee we get there. We have fun doing it but we are always looking for new volunteers.

“Various events have been tried over the years – some have fallen due to lack of volunteers but thanks to local groups we have continued to evolve our programme year on year.

“Every year we meet so many nice people and the enthusiasm of everyone participating makes it all worthwhile.

“We now aim mainly for a walking parade.We encourage our young people, through schools, to be eco friendly so walking and little or no vehicles in the parade reflects this ethos.”

The youngest committee member, Amy Jarvie, is equally enthusiastic about the rewards of being involved and admitted that it has become a way of life.

She said: “I first got involved in civic week in 2007 when my school allocated me the role of flower girl.

“The following year I joined the committee.

“I’ve always been the youngest committee member but it doesn’t stop me from contributing to meetings and events.

“I was given the role of programme editor and I’ve done it for many years.

“As I’ve gotten older, more jobs have been given to me – they are always enjoyable. Civic week is hard work but it is always fun.”

The current civic week chairwoman is Kilsyth councillor Heather McVey.

She said: “This year is my 30th civic week as a committee member.

“It has been a hugely important part of my life.

“I was involved in helping out at the talent show then was asked as a young teenager to host it.

“Volunteering has enabled me to grow in confidence through my teens, to learn skills like public speaking and relating well to other people.

“It’s given me an opportunity to take on responsibility, while being supported to do so.

“I now share that by encouraging new volunteers.

“Every year has high points and that’s what keeps it interesting and exciting.

“It has evolved but the things that people love have been retained.

“There are children who are auditioning for talent shows whose grandparents have appeared in them!

“My own first civic week memory was as a toddler in 1976/7 on a float dressed as a pirate or a French person – I was wearing stripes!

“I was on the playgroup float; it rained and I got dyed with purple drips from the crepe paper!”

So what can visitors expect from the landmark extravaganza this year?

Heather revealed: “Old favourites are making a come back like the inter school competitions, talent show, golf medal and the poetry and art events.

“There will also be pop up concerts in the band stand throughout civic week and a new event too.

“We also have young volunteers making a documentary on our theme – past, present and future.

“We are exploring and celebrating the past, acknowledging our present and shaping our future with members of the community highlighting what they want from civic week future.

“We will showcase that later in the year.

“It is all about the community spirit. That was as true in our first civic week as it is today, in our 50th.”