Sidmouth not a carnival town claim

More support needed to keep Sidmouth Carnival going in future

CARNIVAL processions could soon be a thing of the past as the cost of staging them continues to spiral, writes Di Bowerman.

“Carnivals are dying, they are having difficulty with all the rules and regulations,” said Marion Perry, secretary of Sid Vale Carnival Club.

She said the cost of inspection orders and public liability insurance, which has seen a massive hike in recent years, was “killing” carnivals.

“It is a shame, I just can’t see them going on. Certainly, it is not what it was 28 years ago, when our club started.”

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After sending requests for financial support, to cover the cost of fuel, to businesses in the eight towns on the East Devon circuit, only two made donations, one from a Sidmouth resident and the other from a branch of Bath Travel.

“I don’t think Sidmouth is a carnival town. The atmosphere at Colyton is marvellous, but Sidmouth doesn’t support you.

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“They like to see you and we’ve had a lot of timber from Bradfords and they did sponsor us last year, but… Sidmouth just doesn’t want to know. We have written to hotels and some businesses and heard nothing.”

She said jumble sales at Sidford hall helped towards the float’s building costs.

This year, the club has bought some parts for its float from the now defunct Tango Junior Carnival Club, which has folded.

Terry Clarke, chairman of Sidmouth Carnival Committee, said: “A lot of people in Sidmouth want a carnival, providing someone else runs it. ”

Mr Clarke, from Newton Poppleford, who took over last year, added: “We are going to have to get more help before starting on next year’s carnival.”

He would like people interested in running events in the week leading up to next year’s procession to contact him on (01395) 568815.

“Last year, we had a lot of financial support from local businesses and some have helped us this year. On procession night last year, we took �2,500 in the town, so people must have been on the street to do that.”

A Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce spokesman said: “Everyone in Sidmouth makes a magnificent effort to contribute towards the huge number of clubs and societies that make Sidmouth a special place, but many struggle to get people to take up positions of responsibility.”

Some of the town’s 300 organisations had folded recently because no-one was prepared to take on the job of chairman or secretary.

“Everyone enjoys carnival, long may it continue in Sidmouth,” he added.

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