Sidmouth Carnival's future assured

FOLLOWING the sudden death of John Reece in October, Stuart Hughes has decided to continue running Sidmouth Carnival next year.

FOLLOWING the sudden death of John Reece in October, Stuart Hughes has decided to continue running Sidmouth Carnival next year.

"Graham Troman, myself and members of Tango Carnival Club will be involved to safeguard the carnival," said Mr Hughes. "I didn't want to see it going out of town."

He felt organisers of the event should come from Sidmouth.

Mr Hughes, who has run the carnival for 17 years, had passed the reins to Mr Reece earlier this year.

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"With John dying I had not handed all the stuff over and you have to plan now if you want to keep the carnival running.

"I felt if I've done it for 17 years, what's another year?"

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Mr Hughes said he would be streamlining the whole event and looking at putting the fun back into carnival.

"I will be looking at the entries being given an appearance fee instead of prize money. It will equate to prize money given."

He said this would cut down on postage and administration.

"The Christmas carnival was better because it was a fun event. People came along on the floats and enjoyed themselves without having to compete.

"We will also be cutting back on the number of majorettes who enter. One of the biggest problems is having too many in the procession.

"A lot of holdups are created when they are doing their displays. We will have limited numbers and not the six we have had in the past."

Mr Hughes, who would like to find a new and younger successor for the 2010 carnival, said he had already put in place road closures and street collection permits for 2009's procession on Saturday, September 26 at 7.30pm.

"When I took over the running of the carnival I was 40. Now I am 57 and am looking for some young blood to come in with new ideas."

He said with the present credit crunch it will be difficult to find sponsorship for the procession.

"There is a lot of red tape. You have to provide risk assessments, put out diversion signs, have special accreditation and pay a Performing Rights licence."

Sidmouth has already lost its Christmas carnival through lack of financial support, and said Mr Hughes: "At the end of the day I don't want to see another fun event die in Sidmouth."

Anyone able to offer sponsorship for the carnival can call Mr Hughes on (01395) 578414.

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