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Organisers pull plug on Eastleigh Carnival after 125 years
IT is the dazzling summer showcase that draws thousands to a Hampshire town every year.
Devastated organisers pulled the plug last week blaming dwindling numbers on their committee while there were also concerns the event was seen as “uncool”.
The decision will come as a major blow to the crowds of people who line the streets every year to watch the procession weave through the town – the climax of a week of family activities.
Only two people have applied for the roles of Carnival Queen and Princess while organisers say attracting help from the business world has become increasingly difficult.
Along with the brightly decorated floats, gone will be the week of fetes, fancy dress parties, dog contests, discos, barn dances and cabaret shows enjoyed by hundreds of thousands over the years.
It will also come as a shock to the many charities who looked forward to some of the proceeds of the thousands of pounds raised every year at what is one of Hampshire’s oldest and longest-running carnivals.
In the coming months the Carnival Association intends to hold an audit of its equipment before selling or donating it to other charities and groups.
Chairman Penny Alford said: “Our committee numbers have dwindled and are extremely low so we cannot provide the manpower needed to complete the enormous task of preparing and carrying out the week’s events.
“We have repeatedly asked for new people to join us but to no avail and it is with heavy hearts that we have had to admit defeat.
“We feel that our events must have lacked ‘street cred’ and deemed to be ‘uncool’.
“I was devastated and cried when I realised it was all over.
But we just could not go on the way we were.”
Last year carnival organisers gave away £4,000 to good causes while 2012 – the showcase 125th anniversary year – was shaping up for yet another fun-packed event with themes based on the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Titanic.
Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne said: “This is very sad news for the town. Eastleigh Carnival was due to celebrate its 125th anniversary this year and it is a great shame that this fantastic community event won’t make it to this historic landmark.”