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Bands, fireworks and family fun at the Party on the Prom at the pier in Deal

By Beth Robson

Deal’s annual display of fireworks was launched from the pier last night, in one of the town’s most impressive displays for years.

Residents and visitors flocked to the sea front for the Party on the Prom - the prelude to Carnival night - to dance to live music and revel in the celebrations.

Bad Penny was part of the line up

The fireworks, sponsored by the Walls family of Deal Beach Parlours in Beach Street, lit up the clear sky at about 10.30pm.

The launch of the display was counted down by Deal Regatta Queen Chantelle Rowley and six-year-old leukaemia sufferer Megan Gridley, whose dream it was to set off a fireworks display, pressed the button, culminating in hundreds of well timed bursts of colour into the sky.

Crew from Walmer Lifeboat Station gave a RNLI and Coastguard rescue display at Deal Pier

Chairman of Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown Regatta Association John Trickey dedicated one of the fireworks to his friend and Academy FM DJ, Howard Evans, who died on Sunday.

Mr Trickey, who has been involved with the association for more than 20 years, said: “He was a lovely guy and he was the one that encouraged me to do carnivals. He would be here every year. He was always very, very supportive and helpful.”

The fireworks were launched by six-year-old Megan Gridley whose dream was to set off fireworks.

Families also enjoyed an RNLI and Coastguard display, the bank buoy scramble and the fishing boat race, plus, Party on the Prom entertainment from local favourites The Kingsdown Band and Bad Penny.

Deal Regatta Court also took to the stage to welcome the visiting carnival courts, who had travelled from far and wide to be a part of the occasion.

The Belsham, Dunsters and Herbert family

The European team, led by Miss European and local girl Kerry Vinson, were among the beauties, plus representatives from Northern Ireland, Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

Mark 1 Music sponsored the event, who along with many volunteers and supporters made it possible.

Mr Trickey said: “Thanks to all the sponsors and the people of Deal who make this such a fantastic event. The cost of it is thousands and without the sponsors, we just couldn’t do it.”

He added: “I started the Party on the Prom with Terry Cutting in 1996. Before then it was just fireworks and I didn’t think it was big enough.

The beach was lined with spectators

“The first time we did it, we had Buster Blood Vessel from Bad Manners, he was my friend.

“Then Terry said, let’s build a stage and as the saying goes, build it and they will come.

“Since then, it’s just got better and better and it’s now one of the best free open events in the country.”

Vice-president of DWKRA, Cllr Marlene Burnham, added: “John and Rose Trickey have been with the carnival twenty plus years. I have known them for that length of time and I can say they have kept it going through thick and thin and they are such amazing people.

“They would be a hard act to follow. Let’s hope they continue to be as successful as they have been in, in future years”.

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