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No carnival - and future looks bleak

PUBLISHED: 15:21 13 April 2012

Lowestoft carnival 2010. Totally Wicked dance school.
Photo: Andy Darnel

Lowestoft carnival 2010. Totally Wicked dance school. Photo: Andy Darnel

Archant © 2010

THE annual Lowestoft Carnival parade will not take place this summer, organisers announced this week.

The decision means Lowestoft will be without its annual street procession for a second successive year.

Last year, rising costs linked to road closures and changes to the traffic management rules governing street events forced organisers to cancel the main parade, amid hopes it might be reinstated this year.

But this week the Friends of Lowestoft Hospital said that, after considering a number of options, none had proved viable, and “regretfully” they would not be running a carnival parade this year. And they warned that unless circumstances changed, they would not be in a position to do so again for the foreseeable future.

Carnival chairman Pat Rayner said: “Since announcing we were not able to proceed with a Lowestoft carnival parade last year we’ve had meetings with various interested people – sadly without making any significant progress.

“We are still supporting the local hospital and medical services in the town and are now considering alternative fund-raising events. We do not wish to stage inferior processions to those successfully put on in the past and would rather our supporters have happy memories of the fun times we have all had together.”

The committee of the Friends of Lowestoft Hospital has been organising the annual procession through Lowestoft for more than 40 years.

But, exasperated by the bureaucracy and costs now associated with closing roads and marshalling, they were forced to hold a shorter procession in 2010 and just a fete last year.

A carnival spokesman said the options discussed included staging a shorter parade in South Lowestoft, a restricted town centre parade through London Road North’s pedestrianised area, a wheelbarrow parade or race from the High Street to Royal Green and a procession or soapbox races on the South Beach promenade.

He said: “All were given due consideration but eventually ruled out. The Friends of Lowestoft Hospital predominantly exist to raise funds and when the finances of the alternative events were considered, especially relating to the costs of ensuring the safety of all concerned, then the decisions were virtually made for us.”

The annual model boat regatta at Kensington Gardens, on August 19, and the annual hospital and carnival fetes are all still scheduled to go ahead. The Friends are also planning to hold a Lowestoft Carnival charity auction on October 25.

Anyone who can offer help with the fund-raising events should contact Mrs Rayner on 01502 563847 or e-mail patatsunrise@aol.com.

● In an effort to safeguard the history of the carnival procession, organisers are appealing for any trophies, shields or memorabilia to be returned. They can be left, anonymously if desired, at Lowestoft Hospital in Tennyson Road.

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