Royalty is needed to crown carnival
FOR the first time in its history Shepton Mallet Carnival has no king or queen to lead the procession.
And Shambles Carnival Club will not have an entry as they do not have enough people to man the float. Without volunteers this well loved annual event could be in danger. If people do not volunteer to give up their time and take part the Shepton Mallet Carnival could become a thing of the past.
With carnival only a month away time is running out for young volunteers (aged between eight and 15 years and resident in the district) to step forward. This year's Shepton Mallet carnival will take place on Wednesday, November 13. Despite the lack of a king or queen and the absence of a Shambles float for the first time in years, this year's carnival has more than 90 entries taking part in the illuminated procession around the town, from the big floats to single walking masqueraders.
Don Clifford, Shepton Mallet Carnival Committee chairman, said: "The committee has advertised in the Journal and in the local shops for young people to be carnival king or queen. I don't know what else we can do to implore these young people to come forward.
"Carnival raises millions of pounds for Somerset. In Shepton Mallet we give £7,000 to local charities each year.
"For some reason volunteers aren't coming forward as they did in the past. It is sad."
Mr Clifford has been involved with Shepton Mallet carnival since it began in 1965. He added: "I feel pretty passionate about it. It's a huge spectacle. People come from far and wide to see the procession. I will do my level best to see it does not fail."
It costs approximately £17,000 to stage Shepton Mallet Carnival. Part of the commitment involved in becoming carnival king or queen is to raise sponsorship.
This year committee member Liz Jordan helped boost funds by applying to RSA Insurance Group for an award. RSA run a scheme called the Community Project Award scheme and pensioners of the company are able to submit details of any charity they are involved with and request a donation of up to £500.
RSA gave the maximum donation for which the carnival committee is extremely grateful.
It will be added to the donations from other local firms. Liz said: "The RSA cheque is hugely appreciated and will immediately help towards the cost of crowd safety barriers this year. Thank you so much."
Somerset's illuminated carnivals attract thousands of visitors every year and 100 per cent of the profits made go to local charities and clubs such as the Somerset Air Ambulance, Mendip Multiple Sclerosis Society and Dorothy House cancer hospice.
Shambles is determined to have an entry next year and is looking for volunteers to sign up now. Anyone wishing to volunteer to take part in the carnival or become involved in any way can contact Don Clifford on 01749 342206. If you would like to book disabled parking to attend the carnival, call Tina Edwards on 01749 840756.