The annual FORK GALA was rated a great success by the many hundreds who sat in the sun, listened to the music, strolled round the stalls, updated on lots of issues, paddled down the River Kelvin or simply meandered around Ha’penny Bridge House in the lower Kelvin Walkway.
The Friends of the River Kelvin (FORKs) know how to run a show. Their main concern is to care for the environment of the River Kelvin and its banks in the city. Generally they do that with regular clean-ups on Saturday mornings. But on days like Saturday 8 June 2013, they let loose and invited anyone interested to join them at their HQ at Ha’penny Bridge House and surrounding area to socialise at their GALA.
From 12 noon the music was continuous. First up was promising newcomer, Calum O’Connor, a singer songwriter.
The highly popular West of Scotland Ukulele Players – WOSUP followed. Then the Magic Lantern Show completed the first half of the day with good toe-tapping sounds. Music organiser Chiara Berardelli, herself, played some terrific keyboard accompanied by friends. Warren McIntyre and Starry Skies rocked the next slot with Jericho Hill completing the line-up to a very tuneful day.
Great sound control allowed the music to waft across the green walkways at a pleasant level which allowed people to have conversations with the stall holders without shouting.
The many stalls reflected the wide interests of FORKS and their concerns within local communities. Campaigns such as the fight to retain the Children’s Wood in Glasgow’s West End and Animals Asia Foundation working to stop cruelty to bears, cat and dogs in other parts of the world were busy. Soroptomists, Catflap, Friends of the Earth, and the Dowanhill, Hyndland and Kelvinside Community Council all attracted visitors.
The Greek Thomson Sixty Steps Preservation Trust was able to spread its message that the unique architectural gem of a public, stone staircase leading from the River Kelvin at Queen Margaret Bridge up to the North Kelvinside view point and pleasure garden is in need of restoration.
Another interesting spot at the Gala was the teepee which held Jamie Prescogg’s collection of amazing things he’s found on his walks along the River Kelvin with his dog Tyson.
‘I’d love to know what these mystery tiles were,’ he said holding up ceramic jig saw puzzle shapes which fitted into each other. ‘They may have been mosaic tiles but I don’t know and hope someone can tell me.’ (If anyone reading this webstory does have an answer, please email us at this website using the CONTACT button at the top of the main page)
Only a few of the stalls required the spending of money to enjoy. The hot food stall was hugely popular. The colourful purses, bags and jewellery made by women in Latin American countries such as Guatemala from oddments of materials were very attractive. And Rita’s crafty creations of children’s clothes, jewellery and other things can be found online.
FORKS, themselves, had a stall where they showed an artist’s impression of a proposed high flats development overlooking the River Kelvin. They have opposed it because of the bad environmental effect they consider it will have on the area. And they urge others to do the same.
Wild by Nature, which runs canoe safaris in Scotland and abroad, gave people the chance to try paddling a canoe along the River Kelvin. They were busy all day with people of all ages taking up the special offer.
The whole event was busy all day with people enjoying themselves, greatly helped by the warm sunshine beaming down on the crowds.
The Annual General Meeting of FORK (Friends of the River Kelvin) will be held on Saturday 1 December in their headquarters at Ha’penny Bridge House in the Botanic Gardens at 12.30. This will follow the regular Saturday clean-up of the riverside.
Nominations are invited from members for Convener, Treasurer and Secretary. Currently the position of Secretary is vacant. The present Convener, Sally Johnston and Treasurer, Allan Twigg are both willing to stand again.
Rain didn’t stop play at the FORK Gala day on Saturday 9 June 2012. A line up of more than 11 groups performed despite heavy rain between the sunny spells at the annual event run by Friends of the River Kelvin. While the music flowed from noon till 7pm, stalls provided information and things to buy as well as ‘handknitted hamburgers’ . Children had an arts programme painting a collage of the natural environment around the River Kelvin, and an amazing puppet show. Professionally guided canoe trips were ‘just amazing,’ said one happy voyager. All of the activities were centred on FORK headquarters – the Ha’penny Bridge House in the Botanic Gardens at the junction of the tracks leading to Wyndford and Kirklee.
Said new FORK Convener, Sally Johnston: ‘This has been another exceptionally good and very enjoyable event, despite the rain. We thank everyone who helped and who took part. We plan to hold social evenings in Ha’penny Bridge House in the autumn for members. Before then, we hope to launch, officially, the very colourful boards painted by local school children, which protect the windows of Ha’penny Bridge House.’ For more information on Friends Of the River Kelvin, including their next Saturday morning litter pick-up on 7 July, see their website: www.fork.org.uk
The River Kelvin Angling Association (RKAA) are planning a clean-up on Saturday 2 June alongside FORK – Friends of the River Kelvin – who are preparing for their Big Gala on Saturday 9 June at their headquarters – Ha’penny Bridge House in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens.
Volunteers to help with both groups’ cleaning up activities are invited to be at Ha’Penny Bridge House (HBH) at 10.30. Pickers-up and gloves are provided. Said Allan Twigg, FORK treasurer who organises the regular FORK clean-ups: ‘We’ll be preparing HBH for the Gala and also want to clear part of the foundations of the Flint Mill which has become overgrown. Should anyone have loppers they can bring, they would be useful to cut back rhododendrons too, though we hope to borrow some from the Botanic Gardens.’
The FORK GALA on Saturday 9 June is a highlight of the West End Festival. Last year the event, planned to finish at 4pm – was still going strong at 6pm because so many musicians were happy to play, the weather was warm and people were having a great time browsing and buying at the stalls and listening to the music.
Said Allan: ‘On the day of the Gala, we need all the help we can get from early in the morning as we start setting up around 8 am, throughout the day to help with the Gala and late in the afternoon to clear up.’
FORK is an organisation of people who are keen to keep the integrity and the beauty of nature around the River Kelvin in the city and are committed to its care and maintenance on a volunteer basis. Founded 20 years ago by Mark Eden-Bushell who is now Ambassador for the work, FORK has been a social and an environmental success story which continues today under a new Convenor – Sally Johnston – and an enthusiastic team.
The annual gala includes a chance to try canoeing, find out about local campaigns and charities and volunteer activities and buy things like books and crafted goods. The Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Glasgow Conjurers are just two of the many organisations who take part and help to make the event a great success.
Friends of the River Kelvin (FORK) invite anyone interested in the environment to help them clean up a stretch of the River Kelvin on Saturday 7 April.
Assemble at 10.30am on the bridge on Kelvin Way.
All necessary protective gear provided.
FORK members do a monthly clean-up among other things. See the website for other information – including the summer gala. www.fork.org.uk
Everyone enjoyed a wonderful day at the FORK Gala on 4 June in the Botanic Gardens at Ha’penny Bridge House. Formally opened by MSP Sandra White, many hundreds of people sat in the sun to be entertained by the musicians – who were still playing at 6pm when the Gala, technically, finished at 4pm. Then there were the stalls to browse, the dog show to challenge, useful things to buy, interesting things to learn and plenty of fun, food and cool drinks too. Canoe rides gave experience on the water.
The whole event is a great West End gathering where people mix and chat, meet and eat, sing and sort out the rest of the world. FORKS are Friends of the River Kelvin and the gala is a showcase for their work and philosophy – to care for the environment around the River Kelvin and to carry that care into other aspects of living.
Welcomed by the Big Fork himself, founder Mark Eden-Bushell, the day was well organised by the FORK Gala committee with FORK Secretary Charles Thompson busy in the background making sure everything fell into place.
Volunteers are welcome to join the FORK’s next river clean-up on Saturday 2 July at 10.30pm at Ha’penny Bridge House which is the organisation’s headquarters.
There is no doubt it will be a good day on Saturday 4 June because that is FORK Gala day and traditionally it has been favoured with the warmth and brightness of the sun.
From 11am till 4pm, centred in the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow near Ha’Penny Bridge House, Friends of the River Kelvin (FORKs) will offer food and entertainment, stalls and canoe rides, friendship and environment awareness strategies.
Throughout the day, live music is played by many wandering minstrels. People meet and chat, children have fun and entertainment. Books and tee shirts and other items can be bought. The beekeepers have honey in stock and welcome interest in their important, voluntary, work.
Don’t miss it!