It was with great sadness that I heard the Littlehampton Carnival Procession was likely to be the last one.
Carnival President Freda Hughes deserves a huge thank you from the townsfolk of Littlehampton for keeping the show on the road, ably asserted by the hardworking committee for 42 years – an incredible achievement.
Unfortunately time waits for no man (or woman) and the baby boomer generation are now entering their autumn years and the stress of running a carnival just becomes too much.
Carnival doesn’t just ‘happen’ – it is a result of planning for a year, trying to raise funds and gain sponsorship to fund the bands and their transport, insurance and the numerous other expenses even before the dreaded “’elf ‘n’ safety” regulations increase costs further.
Groups wanting to enter have difficulty nowadays funding transport firms to loan lorries and their drivers at an affordable cost. Some firms are extremely helpful but may not have a suitable lorry at the time needed due to it being in use.
If you speak to any voluntary group I would not be surprised if the lack of younger active volunteers is one of their major headaches. There are many young people out there doing amazing work in various groups but unfortunately there are just not enough of them.
Do we want a future where there are no fun days in their town to look forward to? The alternative is a culture where after work one logs onto their computer and envelopes oneself in a virtual reality world with little or no interaction with their neighbours and the wider community.
In the past few years, we have lost the Rustington Carnival Procession, Littlehampton’s Bus Rally with other events struggling because of a lack of help.
Maybe carnivals are destined to become a feature in the local museum as an example of small town life in the late 20th century.
I will finish with a big thank you to Freda and her committee for all the fun I’ve enjoyed over the years at various carnival events - enjoy your retirement!
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