Hope over Ottery Tar Barrels future

PUBLISHED: 06:50 31 October 2010

P1031-45-09SH A scene from the Ottery Tar Barrels.; Picture by Simon Horn.

P1031-45-09SH A scene from the Ottery Tar Barrels.; Picture by Simon Horn.

Archant

OTTERY’S 200-year-old Tar Barrel tradition needs the Government to end Britain’s compensation culture if it is to survive for years to come.

OTTERY’S 200-year-old Tar Barrel tradition needs the Government to end Britain’s compensation culture if it is to survive for years to come.

That is the message from hopeful organisers who this week sealed a deal that sliced £8,000 off an insurance premium which has threatened to end the November 5 event.

A £17,000 agreement has been brokered for next Friday’s spectacular with a new insurance firm and paid in full.

The deal with new provider Broadsure means preparations for next year’s event will start with a clean slate.

Ottery Carnival Committee members were facing an “impossible” £25,000 premium with former coverage provider, Brit, thanks to a compensation claim.

They feared the massive sum for this year’s fun could only be paid in two instalments spanning well into next year- leaving them unable to fund future events.

With barrelers ready to roll next Friday, driving forces say the next 12 months is crucial for the long-term destiny of the spectacular.

Carnival Committee chairman Graham Rowland hopes Tory peer Lord Young’s health and safety review recommendations on compensation culture in his ‘Common Sense Common Safety’ report will come to fruition.

“If the whole culture changes, I’m hopeful this will go on for many years to come,” he told the Herald, “It’s crucial, not only for Ottery Tar Barrels, but the rest of the country.

“We need common sense to come back in and will, hopefully, get a more manageable premium. This is a crucial year in my opinion.

“To get insurance for £17,000 is absolutely fantastic. We couldn’t have raised £25,000 in a small rural area, it would have been impossible.

“As a committee, we’re never negative- we can’t afford to be with what’s at stake.

“I’ve always rolled the barrels, so have my wife, my son and my daughter. I’ve got a six-month old grandson now, so I’ve got another incentive to keep this going. This time of year is special for Ottery. It is what brings the community together.”

Mr Rowland was quick to thank former insurer, Brit, and said: “We haven’t severed all ties with them, still have a good working relationship, and I hope to work with them again some day. They came forward when it was under threat four or five years ago and I’m greatly indebted to them.”


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