Roz steps out to keep spirit of Lowestoft carnival alive

HELP keep the carnival spirit alive!

That was the rallying call this week from a long-time supporter of Lowestoft Carnival, whose family have been involved in the popular annual parade for the past 49 years.

Roz Fallon was dismayed by the news that this year's procession had been cancelled because the organisers were faced with unsurmountable costs to pay for road closures and crowd control measures.

But – keen to celebrate her family's half a century of involvement in the event – she is now calling on local people to take to the streets of Lowestoft on August 7 to raise funds for the town's hospital.

Although the collectors will not be part of an official street parade, Mrs Fallon, of Walmer Road, is hoping as many people as possible will join her to walk the route 'and collect money, if possible, in a legal way'.

She has held talks with the Friends of Lowestoft Hospital group, which organises the event and benefits from the thousands of pounds it raises. And – having discussed the problems and costs the organisers now face – she has written to prime minister David Cameron in the hope that the government can help.

'It is an issue that is close to my heart as every year we look forward to doing this parade as the whole reason is to benefit Lowestoft Hospital,' Mrs Fallon said.

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'The parade, as we know it, is off for this year and it is hoped, that rules and regulations will be clearer and funds will be made available for it to go ahead next year.'

Calling on townsfolk to support her, Mrs Fallon added: 'I will dress up anyway on August 7 and walk the route as normal as it is the 50th year of my family entering the parade.'

Mrs Fallon said her passion for the carnival was down to her family's long-standing support for the event.

Recalling the first Carnival parade which the Fallon family entered in 1961, she said: 'It poured with rain and my mother (Maureen Woods) and grandmother Alice Smith held umbrellas over us the whole route.

'My brother, Gary Woods, was dressed as Yuri Gagarin and I was a butterfly in a velvet suit.'

From then on, the family had the 'carnival big' and when the Wrentham Band's drummer fell ill the following year, a young Gary – whose fancy dress costume included a snare drum – was drafted in as part of the band.

Other highlights for Mrs Fallon include the 2001 parade when she dressed as a Japanese geisha to celebrate the Millennium Dome potentially being sold to the Japanese.

'I was sat there waiting for things to start with this large umbrella and outfit when two Japanese tourists walked past and wanted their pictures taken with me,' she said.

Over the years, she and her family have won many awards for their costumes.

Mrs Fallon plans to raise money along the usual parade route, before finishing at the Royal Green on August 7 where there will be a Carnival Fete from 10am to 5pm with a fancy dress competition.

Pat Rayner, chairman of the Friends, said: 'Roz Fallon has been a stalwart supporter of Lowestoft Carnival for many years and we fully understand her disappointment at the cancellation of the parade this year.

'We welcome any fundraising initiative – as long as it is legal and safe. If other fundraisers wish to join Roz on her pavement walk, we would be pleased to greet them all at the Royal Green.'

If you would like to join Mrs Fallon's walk, contact Mark Boggis at The Journal by email at or ring 01502 525833 and we'll pass on your details.

Postbox – pages 20, 21