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Gold Rush

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By Fiona Reid

A MINI gold rush is expected in upper Annandale if Moffat wins a bid to host the 2017 World Goldpanning Championships.

But it would cost the town at least £80,000 to stage the international event, which would bring in hundreds of prospectors.
On Tuesday night members of the British Goldpanning Association (BGA) met with Moffat Community Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council’s principal officer of events, Ian Barr, to gauge support for the week-long event.
BGA members advised that each competition attracts between 700 and 1000 competitors as well as their family and friends.
A BGA representative said: “We feel that Moffat is the ideal place to hold this competition.
“The beautiful town of Moffat is a well established tourist infrastructure with plenty of restaurants, boutique shops and hotels.”
He added: “We think it would bring media interest to the town as well as money. It would hopefully be the talk of the town for years to come.”
This year the event is being held in Navelgas, Spain and the 2016 World Championships will take place in California, USA.
Currently no other bids for the 2017 competition have been made known.
BGA representatives advised that the project, which they hoped to hold at the classic car rally show ground, would cost a minimum of £80,000 to pull off successfully.
A panning arena and stage area would need to be set up, live entertainment would need to be arranged and day trips for visitors organised.
In preparation for the event a volunteer committee would also need to be established to organise grant applications, fundraising and approach businesses from around the UK to sponsor the event.
Community councillor Andrew Purves said: “This is a massive event. It would involve a lot of work from the community council and other committees as well.
“What is critical here is that the council has got to be 100 per cent behind us.”
The authority’s principal officer of events, Ian Barr, added: “This is clearly an event worth watching and evaluating, but we cannot support it whole heartedly just yet until the economic side has been looked at.”
Community councillor David Booth branded the project ‘ambitious but not impossible’, while secretary of the group Jean Purves added: “I think we have time to arrange everything, it’s not until 2017.”
The community council voted to back the bid and an application will be submitted in the next six weeks.

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