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Councillor stumps up cash to keep Whitstable Carnival afloat

An organiser of Whitstable Carnival has hailed a county councillor the saviour of the event after a last-minute donation.

Carol Simmons, secretary and treasurer of the carnival committee, says without the money from Cllr Mark Dance, a question mark would have hung over Saturday’s event.

The procession is expected to attract scores of visitors with a procession upwards of 25 floats. It will start after the town's Harbour Day celebrations which features a host of stalls and activities.

Whitstable Carnival will go ahead this weekend
Whitstable Carnival will go ahead this weekend

Earlier this year, Mrs Simmons, of Douglas Avenue, warned the future of the carnival looked bleak due to dwindling funds and support.

But she says due to the hard work of the committee and last month’s £2,250 donation, the carnival, the 120th this year, promises to be a success.

“Mark Dance was talking to someone who mentioned our finances and he got in touch with us and gave us some money, which has meant it has been a lot easier this year,” said Mrs Simmons.

“It is all going ahead as planned and we are hoping lots of people turn up on the day to either take part or watch.

Cllr Mark Dance donated much needed funds
Cllr Mark Dance donated much needed funds

“We’ve got about a dozen carnival courts and a dozen other floats but we hope more will turn up on the day.

“You don’t need a big lorry to come. We have walking entrants all dressed up too.”

She says financial problems stem from a lack of interest and additional expenses, as well as the sad loss of committee member Paul Frend in January who had been a big supporter for many years.

“Whatever we collect in the pots pays for next year’s event. Anything left over we give to local charities or groups,” she said.

“If the collection drops it makes it very difficult to fund.

“So please come to support us because we can’t keep going on longer without you.”

Cllr Dance, who represents Whitstable West on Kent County Council, says he grew up in Tankerton and therefore wanted to help.

“For me, Whitstable carnival is Whitstable,” he said.

“I knew they had some extra expense for the carnival court float and not much money.

“I used my county council member’s allowance of £2,250, so not an insignificant amount, to help protect the event for the future and return some much needed regalia to the carnival court.”

The precession starts at Pier Avenue at 6pm and ends at the bottom of Borstal Hill.

n For an entry form email snowwis99@yahoo.com or call 01227 262925.

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