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Northfleet Carnival returns with Gravesend's Lola-Rose Raine as its Queen


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One of Kent's oldest parades – which was almost cancelled in 2019 – is back after two years.

Northfleet Carnival kicks off this weekend and will be led by Gravesend toddler Lola-Rose Raine who only had a matter of hours to live after contracting hepatitis.

Kings Farm Primary School at the event in 2016. Picture: Andy Payton
Kings Farm Primary School at the event in 2016. Picture: Andy Payton

The three-year-old has been chosen by organisers to lead the procession as carnival queen as the event returns on Saturday which she is extremely excited about.

Ben Jolly, secretary for the committee, said: "​This was probably one of the easiest decisions that we have had to make this year. We asked Jane and Alan as soon as we knew that she was out of hospital and at home and was told that she was really excited when she was told the news.

"She is a massive example to everyone with everything that she has been through, as she has never given up. She is an example that regardless of what you face in life you can still come through on the other side."

Lola-Rose will have her own chauffer driven car on the day and will be joined by "her hero", dad Alan who gave his daughter part of his liver, saving her life.

Ben added: "Our aim for this year’s carnival is for it to be bigger than ever before and to be the best one in Kent.

"Our last one was held in 2019. We always use the saying 'for the community, by the community' and this day really rings true of that saying."

Lola-Rose is this year's carnival queen and will lead the procession. Picture: Alan Raine
Lola-Rose is this year's carnival queen and will lead the procession. Picture: Alan Raine
The carnival in 2019 was almost cancelled. Picture: John Westhrop
The carnival in 2019 was almost cancelled. Picture: John Westhrop
The Bright Beginnings Nursery at the carnival in 2019. Picture: John Westhrop
The Bright Beginnings Nursery at the carnival in 2019. Picture: John Westhrop

Two years ago, Northfleet Carnival was almost cancelled due to a lack of support but was saved after more than 50 people signed up to volunteer.

The decades old tradition, first held in 1967, is now set to return this weekend on June 25.

The set up will begin at 8am at Springhead Industrial Estate where all the drivers along with committee members will wait for the float participants.

An hour later, they will be assigned their vehicles for the procession and start getting everything ready.

The carnival will leave Springhead Industrial Estate at 1pm and head up towards Pepperhill Roundabout, along Hall Road then down Perry Street, onto Pelham Road before heading towards the town centre. It will end at around 3pm at the Windmill Street.

If you would like to volunteer you have until 10pm on Friday, June 24. Email nfcarnival@outlook.com to get involved.

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