LEDBURY Carnival Parade has been saved thanks to a kind donation from a friend of the town.

Clive Hitchings, who is 86 on Saturday, has donated the cost of policing and marshalling the grand parade of the Carnival which he started back in 1974.

But Mr Hitchings has stepped forward to meet the necessary cost and the parade can go ahead as the town gears up for the Golden Anniversary of the Carnival next year.

Mr Hitchings is well known for his dedication to the town of Ledbury over the years. Many people will know him from his association with Ledbury Football Club, the cricket and tennis clubs and from his business Hills of Ledbury.

He said: "When I heard the carnival was in trouble I decided it would be a good time to step and help and pay the police fee.

"It is part of my parting gifts to mark 50 odd years of working in the town."

Mr Hitchings started the carnival in 1974 when he was President of Rotary in the town.

"All the traders chipped in and there was a best shop window competition.

"I have always been a good friend of the town and it has been a pleasure to help."

Mr Hitchings was born in Upton Bishop and now lives in Welland with his wife Joan.

He is a successful racehorse owner and has enjoyed considerable success with his animals.

Janet Meredith, Carnival organiser said: "With the fantastic news that this years 'Countryside fun' Carnival Parade has been saved the focus has now moved to stalls.

Charity, local and not-for-profit groups are invited to book a stall free of charge to promote their activities, encourage membership and raise much needed funds.

In recent years one local group have consistently raised £400+ annually with their Tombola Stall whilst Guide Dogs have raised several hundred pounds.

Other groups have attracted new members most notably, one local group increasing their number by 12 members. Whilst we cannot promise this level of success this is an opportunity to show off the good things taking place within the Ledbury community and the role your group plays.

Trade Stands are also welcomed to apply though we do have sufficient food stalls for this year.

With up to 8,000 visitors, you are assured of a good footfall with the potential to attract new business.

If you are interested, please email me, Janet, at jsykes1936@live.co.uk or phone 07858 599 037 for further details.

In other news, several new groups have signed up to bring floats this year and with the addition of dancers, Dance in Motion and Cool Moves Dance Company the parade is all set to be bigger than in recent years.

The appearance of Reg, the Shire Horse from Westons Cider is certain to be a popular addition to what is hoped to be a colourful procession.