Club created dazzling displays for carnival circuit

Brazilia float from 2007. Ref shs 2320-39-07AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Brazilia float from 2007. Ref shs 2320-39-07AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Sid Vale Carnival Club has a rich history of building award-winning floats, as these pictures show, but for the first time in its 32-year history, the club has a walking entry this year.

Showtime float from 2000. Ref shs Sid carnival showtime. Picture: contributed

Showtime float from 2000. Ref shs Sid carnival showtime. Picture: contributed - Credit: Archant

The club has made an urgent appeal for premises in the hope of carrying on.

It was established by members of the Sid Vale Athletics Meeting Club after Sidmouth Carnival was revived in 1983. The club soon splintered off from the sporting body and has grown to be the biggest on the East Devon circuit.

It has won the coveted top prize on its home circuit 22 times and has held its own at the much bigger carnivals in Somerset.

But committee member Nick Beavis said it is one of many clubs struggling to find places to build their entries but is desperate to keep going.


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“We still haven’t found anywhere to go,” he said.

“We would scale down our float if it came to it – we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to keep going.”

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They have been trying for nine months to find a new HQ. They were offered a shed in Sidbury but it was not quite suitable.

If no suitable accommodation arises they may build their own shed, but again they would need to find the right site and submit a planning application.

They would also have to raise around £20,000 for construction – on top of the £12,000 annual cost of building a float.

“We are fast running out of options – if we don’t find anywhere we’ll have to sell up and that’ll be the end of it,” said Nick, who has been involved in the club since 1988.

“We put in a walking entry this year because if we don’t keep up momentum, it’s going to fizzle out.”

The club has already lost 10 members since they had to leave their last base, taking their numbers down to 22, but he said the ‘hard core’ remains.

They raise funds throughout the year with coffee mornings and jumble sales for the massive costs – the float needs £2,000 a year for diesel alone.

“We’re probably only going to keep going for another year,” said Nick. “If we can’t find anywhere we’ll probably sell up and that will be it. We’re still desperately looking for somewhere.”

Anyone with a space they think may be suitable for the club is asked call Marion Perry, a founding member and its current chairman, on 01395 514244.

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