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1972 – Musical Director Bows Out


Making his last appearance at this year’s Fair will be the Festival’s Musical Director, Mr. James Cuthell. For those of us who can only remember the Fair since it began again with the crowning of Grange School Queen Sadie Potter in 1946, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else wielding the baton on the Fair Day, because Mr. Cuthell has been Musical Director every year since the war, celebrating his silver jubilee last summer.

Mr Cuthell has remained faithful to the Fair songs as conducted by his predecessors as Musical director, the well remembered Pre-war Musical Directors A. G. Peggie, John Arthur, R. J. Miller and “Band Sandy”, Sandy Bell, but he has left his own mark on the music at the Coronation ceremony, for he it was who introduced the various tunes to fit each group of presentees, instead of simply playing the same march throughout all the presentations. He also introduced the idea of visiting the schools for practice before the Fair and the one part of the Fair which Mr. Cuthell says he will miss more than any other does not take place on the Fair Day itself, but on the Fair E’en, when by tradition the Musical Director visits every school in the town to rehearse “Our Festal Day” and “Hail to Our Queen “.

Another resignation this year is that of Entertainments Convener, David Cunningham. David’s resignation, while regrettable as far as the Fair is concerned, is another indication of David’s own success, for he has now become Falkirk’s full-time Entertainments Director. David’s job as Entertainments Convener has been taken over by the Festival’s Director, Mr. George Renton.


For the first time ever, at this year’s Fair one of the schools will be led in the procession by its own band. The school is the new Deanburn Primary and its brass band is already making a name for itself in the area. With Alex Fleming as its conductor and with Headmaster James Vallance, himself a keen brass player, as it s director the new band is a certain to be a hit on the Fair Day as “Amazing Grace”, which it is featuring in its repertoire of pieces.

Just how far Bo’nessians are prepared to go to ensure that everything is perfect for the Fair has been demonstrated this year by the parents and staff of Bo’ness Public School. The teachers and mothers carefully selected the material for the flower girls’ dresses and ordered it from the Silk Shop of Princes Street, Edinburgh, only to be informed that their choice of embroidered nylon was out of stock. The mothers refused to be dettered and the manager was asked to obtain the material from his firm’s headquarters in London. This he did only to be informed that there was none of this material in Great Britain. Still the mothers insisted and so the manufacturers in Austria were telephoned. With time fast disappearing the rush then began to make the material and whenever it was completed it was rushed to Heathrow, London, and on to Turnhouse where the Silk Shop manager turned out to meet the plane late on Friday night so that the mothers could have the whole weekend to start work on the dresses.

By coincidence the material for the flower girls’ dresses is not Bo’ness Public’s only link with Austria as far as this year’s Fair is concerned, for the school’s presentation this year has an Austrian theme with a minature Austrian lake on the lawn and the main school building transformed into an Austrian Chalet.

Bo’ness Fair has over the years become famed for the coincidences which it seems to produce, with daughter following mother as Queen and sister following sister. This year it’s the turn of the Gourley family to pull off the 100 to 1 outsider. Five years ago when Bo’ness Public School last provided the Queen their daughter Catherine was Queen of the Fairies. Now this year with another Public Queen on the throne Catherine’s young sister Linda has been chosen to play the same role. In all this Fairy business, perhaps there really is a touch of magic.

Grange Primary School seems to be tempting fate a bit this year by choosing “Dancing in the Rain” for the theme of its presentees. It is interesting to note that after several years of choosing presentees from the senior classes both Grange and Kinneil have this year reverted to choosing their presentees from among the infants.


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