End of the road for Barnstaple carnival

Charities to lose out on thousands of pounds as town’s carnival committee folds.

BARNSTAPLE’S annual carnival procession has come to a halt in what would have been the event’s 80th year.

Plans to organise the annual parade, held in the town nearly every year since 1931, were scrapped at an emotionally-charged meeting at Barnstaple Guildhall last night (Wednesday).

There will be no carnival during Barnstaple Fair week for the first time since World War II.

Last September’s traditional event was attended by an estimated 20,000 but the carnival has been under threat for a number of years due to mounting pressures, costs and responsibilities that have been thrust upon the ever-dwindling handful of volunteers.

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Despite numerous campaigns to boost volunteers over the last five years, the committee has been unable recruit a single member and has taken the reluctant decision to fold.

Outgoing carnival chairman Arthur Windsor said the committee had “no choice” but to dissolve the Barnstaple Fair Carnival Association.

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“Basically it ends here,” he said. “With no new committee members to elect there is no carnival committee and as of this point, there will be no carnival in Barnstaple this year.”

Carnival stalwart George Lovering, who has been a member of the association since 1975, said it was with “great sadness” that he felt unable to continue to help run the event he “loved”.

“When I started on the committee we had around 22 members and today we’re down to only seven,” said Mr Lovering, who has tendered his resignation along with daughter Mel, who has served on the committee for 15 years.

“Tonight is a very sad occasion; we love the carnival so much and we love Barnstaple so much but we’ve got to the point where we feel we just can’t carry on any more.”

Last night’s meeting was attended by the seven committee members, carnival president, Mayor Ian Roome and 15 members of the public.

For the full story see next Wednesday’s North Devon Gazette.

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