Cumbrian carnival organisers appeal for help to make event success

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The organisers of Wigton Carnival are urging the community to come forward to help make sure the event is there for generations to come.

Paul Radcliffe and Dennis Graham are busy putting the final touches on this year's event, which is set to take place on June 24.

It is one of the biggest events held in the town every year and while preparations for next month are almost complete the pair say that if the carnival is to flourish more people - and more funding - are needed.

Dennis said: "We've had Wigton Youth Station come on board and they will be looking at it from a different perspective but what we're doing at the moment is just working on what has worked in the past.

"It will go ahead next year, albeit with a struggle, but next year we need to look at the whole thing again."

Hundreds of people line the streets to watch the carnival procession go through the town before descending on the playing fields at Barton Laws for a fun fair and other activities.

It is also known as one of the best days of the year for the town's pubs as they are usually packed out throughout the carnival celebrations and beyond.

"It's the people's carnival and offers complete community inclusivity," said Paul.

"We have been lucky that so many people have supported us over the years.

"But for sustainability reasons we need people to come forward to help organise.

"Me and Dennis can't go on forever. As soon as this year's is finished we need to sit down and say: 'What's the plan?'

"This is so we aren't running around having to rely on the traditional sources of funding that are harder to come by and we can be self sufficient."

The pair estimate that it costs about £4,000 to run the carnival.

So the need for constant fundraising is vital, while new ideas are equally as important to make sure townsfolk continue to turn out.

Funding is required every year to pay for bands to play in the procession, refreshments for youngsters taking part and other thing such as road closures and insurance.

"If there are other people about that have ideas or critique then we want to work with them. Many hands make light work," Paul added.

"What gives me encouragement is the amount of families that turn out every year, many in fancy dress, and really support the carnival."

People can get involved behind the scenes and help with the planning and organisation, while others step forward to marshall on the day.

As well as the carnival procession and music, this year there'll be a dog show, family sports and a jazz night in the Monkey Tree.

The carnival in its current format dates back to the 1970s when it was set up by the nuns based in Wigton.

* Anyone interested in helping out is asked to contact Paul on 07813327305 or Dennis on 016973 44919.

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