12:00pm Monday 2nd September 2013
THE sun shone for the 39th Ledbury Carnival as the West End came to town – a theme that proved popular with the fun-seeking crowds.
An estimated 8,000 people packed into the town centre, according to carnival committee chairman Steve Clegg.
That figure is at least 1,000 up on last year.
Mr Clegg said: “As the procession started to roll, the sun began to shine for another brilliant day.”
Even a potentially serious park and ride problem was solved at the 11th hour.
Usually, Ledbury Rotarians help with this important service, but the club was keen to have its own float in 2013, with a Guys and Dolls theme, and so its members were unable to assist.
In stepped Ledbury Community Voluntary Action (CVA) – to drive the minibusess to and from the main parking area off Ross Road.
New Street, the High Street and the Homend were lined with cheering crowds as the sizeable procession rumbled by – a spectacle that involved five large lorry floats, not to mention numerous walkers and smaller vehicles.
As is by now becoming traditional, the approach of the procession was signalled by the appearance of a fire engine, followed closely by the pipes, drums and panache of the St Andrew’s Pipe Band.
The Spirit of Coventry Marching Band also put in a terrific and colourful show, and helped to boost the bank holiday carnival atmosphere.
The floats themselves were a big talking point, and the overall winner, Much Marcle School PTA – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – was a clear favourite with the crowds. Many people were especially taken with the life-like camel!
And some of the costumed walkers really went to town in order to delight. Former Ledbury mayor Coun Keith Francis painted his face green and dressed up as Mr Toad, from Wind in the Willows. And Anne Stevenson took the streets as a West End Box Office, with a Phantom of the Opera theme.
The present mayor of Ledbury, Coun Terry Widdows, looked smart in his suit and chain to assist with the bucket collections – an important and traditional part of the grand procession.
Mr Clegg said the final tally for the collections was still to be reckoned up. But he said: “We had more buckets than last year, and the figure should be up on 2012.” He estimated that at least £2,000 had been donated.
Fiona Lewis of Ledbury had cause for a double celebration.
Not only did her store, Appliance Solutions, win the shop window competition, her puppy, Elvis, won first prize in the community dog show.
There will be an open meeting in Ledbury Market House on Monday, September 23, at 8pm, to discuss this year’s carnival and ideas for the 2014 event.
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