Sidmouth youth float forced out of East Devon circuit secret judging

PUBLISHED: 10:19 20 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:22 17 June 2010

REMARKS about a carnival judge s marking have landed Sidmouth s Tango Juvenile Carnival Club in hot water.

REMARKS about a carnival judge's marking have landed Sidmouth's Tango Juvenile Carnival Club in hot water.

East Devon Carnival Committee, made up of representatives from its eight carnivals, unanimously agreed last week to remove any points the club had gained in its secret judging this year.

Bob Collier, committee chairman, said the decision was made after a formal complaint by a woman judge at Newton Poppleford carnival about remarks made after she placed Tango's popular Horror Express second behind South Brent in the youth section.

She claims Tango captain Stuart Hughes "started shouting at myself", saying she was rubbish and should not be judging.

"If this is the spirit of carnival I should call it a day," she wrote.

Mr Hughes denies he was rude or shouted and said: "It is all a bit of a storm in a teacup. I didn't say the judge was rubbish, I said: 'Did you judge on what you saw?' They were stood 30 feet away."

Mr Hughes has asked the committee why he wasn't invited to attend last week's meeting.

"I should have been there, there are two sides to every story, they are on dodgy grounds if they listen to only one side."

He may appeal the decision.

Mr Collier said: "Whether you agree with them or not, judging is a matter of opinion and they have to accept it.

"If you don't win first prize and get het up you mustn't take it out on the judges. "Carnivals have got to be about having fun, to get as deadly serious as this is crazy.

"I think when people step out of line and do that, to react like that is about the worst thing you can do.

"You should take it on the chin. We all need pulling up sometimes."

Tango can enter the remaining East Devon carnivals and on Saturday won a first in the youth section at Exmouth Carnival, beating South Brent.

Mr Hughes thought judging was detracting from the fun element.

"What carnivals should be about is to raise money for charity. It would be far better to look at the size of the float and offer money for appearing rather than prize money.

"The whole issue about judging and competition should be secondary, they should go back to what it is about, having fun.

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