Carnival organisers who worked so hard to bring a colourful and vibrant event to the town on Saturday 29 September have issued a warning that the event’s future is once more in doubt due to a reduction in proceeds.
Dave Rylatt, Chair of the Carnival committee, issued the following report:
“Despite bigger crowds watching the best carnival that Wellington has seen for many years and the fine weather, the count totalled £2,370, down £345 from last year. Our collection included one £10 note and £5 notes. The rest was coinage, including over 18,500 two pence pieces and more than 28,600 pennies!
“We have yet to count a jar full of foreign coins (we can exchange some of them), but there is no value in the buttons, sweets, batteries and washers that make their way into our collection. There is also no value in any of the coins with writing that we are unable to pronounce, let alone ascertain where in the world they originate from.
“It is evident that raising money to give away to charity each year is becoming more difficult. Our own stalwart collector Madge Covey was out in town all day and managed to collect £105, which is another brilliant effort by Madge but down by half from what she collected last year. The only people who continue to make lots of money from carnival are the pedlars who descend on our town from as far away as Liverpool. Unfortunately, without more people to support us by selling our own novelty toys or help us collect, we are not able to compete.
“The costs associated with a carnival are immense. With insurance costs of over £2,000, prize money of £1,500 and a collection of £2,370, you don’t need to be a mathematician to determine the event is not viable in its own right.
“So what is the future of carnival in Wellington? The few but dedicated committee members who work with us will have to work even harder behind the scenes to make up the deficit (by running events such as Street Fair, Christmas Float, China Smash etc). Our committee will meet once the dust settles, but ultimately this traditional Somerset event is under threat. Unless more people come forward to volunteer to help and run a safe, successful and profitable event, Wellington Carnival cannot continue.”
On a lighter note Dave added, “We were mystified that many five pence coins in our collection were smeared with a black sticky substance until Vice Treasurer Sarah Garfitt had a light bulb moment: she observed that the five pence pieces may now be the replacement of the old sixpenny pieces that were embedded into Christmas puddings! Apologies to Santander Bank that our coins included evidence from last year’s Christmas puddings in Wellington!”