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Dedicated organisers of Sheppey Summer Carnival vow to give it 'one last push' next year, despite dwindling takings

By Lewis Dyson

The future of Sheppey Summer Carnival has been cast into doubt after £202 was raised from street collections to go towards holding next year’s procession.

Sales from food and other fundraisers have brought the budget up to about £500 but it will need to pay for taking the Sheppey Carnival Court to other shows across Kent as well putting the Sheerness town centre pageant on again next summer.

Treasurer and chaperone Joan McCall, who sits on a committee with her husband Bob and children Lee and Lauren, put the comparatively low collection on Saturday down to the fact the Sheppey Zulus did not do it this year as they are taking a break.

Sheppey Court Jadi Cruickshanks, Phoebe Jones, Mia Clark, Jess Bye, Bethany Isbell and Melody Jackson

She said: “It’s going to be a struggle. We have paid out of our own pocket and we are going to recoup the money hopefully by doing cardboard collections for Kent County Council.

“We haven’t got any sponsors, not like other places.

“We are going to give it one last push for next year and if we can’t get the money then we are going to have to seriously think about someone else taking it over or it is going to have to fold.”

CJ and Judzea Parry on the war-time themed float

When asked why they keep going with the carnival, she said: “It’s dedication. It’s been running a long time and it’s a tradition for the Island.

“You don’t want to see it go so we’re going to recoup and rethink later on; £200 isn’t going to go very far, not when you have to travel to carnivals all over Kent.

Despite the financial woes Mrs McCall said the carnival went well.

She said: “The standard of the floats was really good. There wasn’t as many people out on the street as we would have liked.”

Sheerness Mascots with their fun float

Three lorries, 13 courts and a couple of groups of walkers took part.

An unplanned flypast from two Lancaster bombers on their way to a display at Headcorn was fortunately timed just right for the start of proceedings.

A band that had been booked to attend dropped out and a replacement could not be found.

The results

Sheerness Mascots was the business with the best float with their Disney-inspired offering.

Rushenden Community House’s wartime-themed won the voluntary group competition while the Taylor family of Sittingbourne, who wore pirate fancy dress, had the best pram or cycle.

Sittingbourne Greyhounds had the best decorated car with their limousine with a dog on top.

First, second and third, respectively, in the Junior Fancy Dress category were Ben Dewsall, nine, (Dr Who), Max Jackson, five, (Batman), Amy Dewsall, four, (Elsa).

Sheppey Bowmen won the best adult fancy dress and The Wonder Girls from Bognor were the best group of walkers.

Awards were also handed out to the courts.

Thanks were given to the Mayor and Mayoress of Swale, Invicta Marshals, Sheppey EMUs, Isle of Sheppey Round Table, SFM, Morrisons Neats Court and Kent Police.

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