Picture special: Combe Martin’s spectacular parade

Joseph Bulmer

Thousands turn out to see seaside village’s annual carnival procession

COMBE Martin was the centre of attention on Wednesday night as thousands turned out to see its spectacular carnival parade make its way down the two-mile main street.

Holidaymakers joined locals both in the parade and in the crowds for a colourful show of innovation and tradition.

The last flight of the Space Shuttle provided an up-to-date theme for the overall champion float The Final Countdown by The Socialites team, entered by Jayne Coombs, Nina Watkins and friends. While the float carried their own version of the shuttle and astronauts a glittering silver and purple group of dancers strutted their stuff to Europe’s hit The Final Countdown.

There was music, too, as The Jungle Book came to life, courtesy of the Smallridge, Ayres and Willis families and friends, who carried off the award for best tableaux.

Yetland Yobs of Berrydown were declared the most comical with their Knight Fever collection of knights of various realms and the Devonshire Dumplings – the Blackmores and friends – were declared the most original with their Rocky Horror entry.

Topping the walkers were Gnomeo and Juliet, a charming and colourful entry featuring Darcey, Rob and Julie Field.

No Combe Martin carnival would be complete without the village’s version of Tom Cobley and his grey mare and they were there again, with riders Gerald Walters, Darren Smallridge, Norman Sanders, John Webber, Graham Rice, Kevin Irwin and Mark Sanders.

Another tradition, dating back several generations, was the bizarre ‘meat chain.’ Young men from the village, topless and smearing with dirt, hauled a huge chain on which hung meat bones and pigs’ heads. No-one could say exactly where the tradition came from, only that it may make reference to the one-time slave trade.

In keeping with the fun atmosphere, local man Adam Niesigh and friends responded with their own vegetarian version. A string of young men pulled a ‘veggie rope’ adorned with cabbages, carrots, swedes and other vegetables.

To view more pictures of the carnival, click on the gallery link on the top right of this page, or to order pictures, click on the MyPhotos24 tab on the left.