A FORMER Keighley Gala stalwart has voiced her sadness that the event is not taking place this year.

Joyce Ashworth retired about a decade ago after many years involved in the annual extravaganza.

Over the years the gala, which in 2016 celebrated its 140th anniversary, has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

Mrs Ashworth, who served as gala secretary, said: "The former chairman, Brian Hudson, always used to say that he would put on the event single-handedly if necessary.

"I find it extremely sad and a huge shame that after so many years, the gala is not happening.

"It's a popular tradition and something that has helped many good causes over the years."

Organisers announced earlier this month that the event would be "taking a break".

They hope to resurrect it next year, but stress that more volunteers will be needed.

In place of this year's event, Marshalls Amusements – a long-time supporter of the gala – will stage a funfair in Victoria Park from September 8 to 11.

It will include a children's fun day, with various activities.

In a statement, the gala committee said: "It is with great regret that, due to unavoidable and unfortunate circumstances beyond our control, the regular gala is taking a break for this year.

"We plan for it to return next year.

"However, we stress that we are a small and entirely volunteer-led group so will be looking in the autumn for more local residents to get involved and help keep this proud local tradition going."

After last year's gala, organisers issued a plea for more people to come forward to help stage the event.

They said additional assistance was needed both before and on the day.

Proceeds from the gala go to various causes, including Manorlands hospice and Keighley Scout groups.

Mrs Ashworth is in the process of transferring video footage from past galas onto CDs, which will be available to buy.

"I have a lot of wonderful film which goes back to the 1980s," she said.

"The footage is mainly of gala queens and the processions.

"I'm still processing the material and it will take a little time, but when the CDs are ready I'll probably give complimentary copies to past gala queens and make them available generally at a nominal charge to cover costs.

"I'm hoping the project will be complete in time for Christmas."