Lilias Day 2019

LILIAS DAY - 1st JUNE 2019

Three of us travelled down from Dundee to meet up with others from the Society in Kilbarchan Park at 10 a.m., to set up the Society's marquee and lay out gear and merchandise. The weather was overcast and muggy, but no rain, which was a bonus. It didn't take long to get everything set up and organised, as Gary Stewart was already there with Irene and Charli, Lesley dropped off some items before heading to another engagement, and both George Kempik and George Boyle brought all the rest of the necessaries. Our display was embellished with the first appearance of our new information fabric boards, kindly donated to us by our representative in America, Randy, so these were prominently on show all around the tent, providing an excellent record both of Wallace's life and the work of the Society.

Once we were all set up, it was a time for catching up on various bits of news, a coffee and a bite to eat before heading down to the start of the march in Kilbarchan itself. Gathering up the banner, flags and shield we walked down to the starting point, where the stewards were already busy sorting out the positions of all the various groups and floats, including horses, 2 little Shetland ponies, three pipe bands and two Chinese dragons. The Society were positioned near the front, behind the Kilbarchan Pipe Band who led off, the Chief Druid and Saint Barchan himself, portrayed by a 77 year old gentleman in robes, sandals and crozier. John is a lovely guy, and seemed to know everyone in the town judging by the waves and comments received as we slowly wound our way down the route to the park. The Society was followed by the members of the re-enactment group Brittania, all dressed in early medieval gear. The pictures below will show a selection of the groups and floats in the procession - and be warned, there are a lot of them. By this time the sun had come out, and the weather was perfect.

On reaching the Park, the young lady portraying Lilias gave a welcoming speech to the crowd, crowned the King and Queen (local primary school children), and then the massed pipes and drums of the three bands played us out. Everyone dispersed to their various sites, and we returned to the tent to find Irene and Charli had already signed up a few new members and sold various items of merchandise whilst we were away. The rest of the afternoon was spent in talking to all the people who visited the Society's display, demonstrating a number of our weapons to those interested in them, and generally making people aware of the work that the Society does. The local MSP was one, and Gary and he discussed the possibility of expanding the Elderslie Wallace Day into something a little larger, in an effort to bring the local population into a greater awareness of their area's history. The local police also entered into the spirit of the day, as you will see.

Far too soon, it was time to pack everything away again and head home, albeit a little reddened by the sun, but happy that we had enjoyed a great day out and furthered the aims of the Society, spreading awareness of Sir William Wallace's continuing presence in Scotland over 700 years since his death. Many thanks to all of those who attended and worked so hard on the day.

Mucking about whilst setting up
Starting to get organised
Some of the weapons laid out
Nearly organised now
OK, we're ready
Getting set to head into town
Shetland ponies getting ready for the procession
Kilbarchan Pipe Band leads off
The Society turns the first corner
Lilias and her helpers
Horses in the procession
Two Chinese dragons
One of the floats - children's dance group
Another float - doing "Baby Shark"
Another of the children's floats
Another float - lady's burlesque!
The Burlesque float - for some reason extremely popular!
Yet another float - musical theme
Saint Barchan leads us onward
The dragons still going strong
Children portraying people from local history
Mary Queen of Scots
And on we go
Saltire hangs from the clock tower
John enjoys a well-deserved refreshment before we enter the park
Preparing for Lilias' speech and the crowning of the King and Queen
All lined up for the speeches
The massed pipe bands prepare to play us out
John's smile sums up the whole day!
Charli and the eagle
George braves the eagle too
Chatting with visitors to the show
Talking about the war hammer
Ensuring the smaller members of the public go home with fingers intact...
The police join in the fun
They seemed to quite take to it!
The day's motley crew

Many thanks to George Boyle, Andy Stupart, Gary Stewart, George Kempik and Nick Brand for the photographs

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The Society of William Wallace is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation Registration number SC045959