Sidmouth Carnival gains new organiser

AFTER 18 years at the helm, Stuart Hughes has handed over the job of organising Sidmouth Carnival.

AFTER 18 years at the helm, Stuart Hughes has handed over the job of organising Sidmouth Carnival.

This year Rob Waller, organiser of Exmouth Carnival for most of the 20 years he has been on its committee, has taken over the reins.

"Once you are running one carnival you might as well do another one in tandem," said Stuart, who has his work cut out as Devon County Council's cabinet member for Highways and Transport.

He is also captain of Tango Junior Carnival Club, whose float, Showtime, is currently under construction.

"I can't get too heavily involved in the running of the carnival because of my position on the county council. I would have to declare too many interests," said Stuart. "I had to make a decision to step aside and hand it to Rob and he has kindly agreed.

"He will be using Sidmouth Carnival (September 26) as a dress rehearsal for Exmouth Carnival.

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"It is nice to be handing over to someone I know, who has the experience and will ensure Sidmouth has a good show, be well balanced and in pretty good hands.

"He has all the credentials when it comes to running a carnival."

Rob, who has been on Exmouth Carnival committee for 20 years, said: "I hope I know enough about carnivals. We are not the carnival, we organise it. There will be a few changes, I don't know what is going to happen this year.

"I would like to see more local people take part in this year's carnival, walking entries or anything.

"All carnivals need financial support and a really need a good collection on the night.

"With the size of the floats they cost a lot of money now and not every carnival club gets the money back they spend."

He added: "Sidmouth is not going to be bigger than Exmouth!"

It is the second time Stuart has tried to hand over as organiser. Last year Sidmouth resident John Reece offered to do the job, but sadly died last October, just after the 2008 carnival.

*Watch our video report on the building progress of the Tango CC team at