Wellington was treated to a carnival of colour on Saturday 29 September, an event which drew big crowds spanning the entire age range to the streets for an evening of uniquely vibrant spectacle.
The organisers – all volunteers who must spend untold hours putting together an event which raises money for good causes in the town – deserve a huge amount of praise for the show they gave the town on a fine if chilly night. It is hoped that proceeds reward them amply for their commitment to this fine tradition which, without them, would have disappeared from Wellington long ago.
Carnival Chair Dave Rylatt said, “This was the biggest procession we’ve managed to assemble for Wellington since I have been involved with Carnival. We can also claim that this is now a truly international event as our procession included two groups from France and a group from our twin town,Torres Vedras in Portugal. It is lovely to share this unique Somerset experience with our visitors, many of whom were visiting England for the first time.
“We were, of course, blessed with fine weather; this obviously helped to swell the crowds.
“Many thanks to our small but loyal band of volunteers, without whom the event would not happen.
“An event of this size obviously causes a little inconvenience to a few people who are not interested in the event. The procession finished by 10pm and all roads were re-opened ahead of the timetable we had agreed with local authorities.
“All money from our collection has been safely stored, but the traditional count will be delayed whilst we continue to host our foreign visitors.
“Many thanks too for all the local businesses who supported us and my sincere apologies to those who were subjected to over-zealous marshals who decided to enforce what were advisory but not mandatory rules.
“Hats off to the many entries who used their imagination to overcome strict musical licensing issues to accompany their magnificent floats.”
The whole procession, led by Wellington School CCF, included a Children’s Convoy of huge trucks, vintage cars, Fire and Rescue Services, Carnival Royalty, majorettes from three countries, local companies, individuals wearing some startlingly creative costumes, Beech Grove Primary School, Wellington Pantomime Group and spectacular floats from carnival clubs around the region. Father Christmas with an elf made an early appearance and brought his own snow. What a show! If the organisers experienced any problems in assembling and organising the event, it should not detract in any way from the enjoyment and appreciation of a considerable percentage of the town’s population.