BLAZING sunshine, song, drama and dance made this year s St Neots Carnival the best one in years, according to the cash donated by the crowd who enjoyed it and the organisers. The winning float in the carnival parade, winning best overall and best trade f

SWEEPING UP THE PRIZES: Peter Fox from the Lord John Russell Pub which won best trade and best overall float as a Victorian pub. 6325

BLAZING sunshine, song, drama and dance made this year's St Neots Carnival the best one in years, according to the cash donated by the crowd who enjoyed it and the organisers.

The winning float in the carnival parade, winning best overall and best trade float was The Lord John Russell Pub.The best children's float was Anglia in Bloom by Crosshall School. Second was Highland Dancers, by St Neots Highland Dancers run by Kathy Harrow, and third was the Batmobile driven by Kathryn, James and Isobel Moir and Jordan and Milly Payne.

Best dressed walker was a young witch, Victoria Keightly, one of the youth section.

The clubs and societies winner was the Boots and Buckles dance club. Winner of the best baby competition for the under twoswas Harrison Leach.

BATMOBILE IS BEST: Taking third place in the winning children's float was this vehicle with Kathryn, James and Isobel Moir and Jordan and Milly Payne. 4431.

The evening included a procession of illuminated boats and a display of Kimbolton fireworks.

The occasion was also used to launch a new youth drama group, The Riverside Theatre Company a registered charity which has evolved from Peppercorns Performing Arts based in St Neots. The group is for people aged seven to 21 and includes choirs and dancers. The company is currently rehearsing a Christmas spectacular and a February show of Peter Pan.

On Sunday, there were 53 entries for the carnival's first Highland Dance Competition held in The Priory Centre. The contest was organised by the Kathy Harrow of St Neots Highland Dancers with classes for under-12s, 12-16 and adults.

Carnival committee member, Jean Searle, said the donations into Saturday's bucket collection alongside the procession of floats had amounted to £2,200 - and more had been raised by selling programmes and merchandise.

Last year the event had failed to make a profit but this year, she said this year there would be cash to give away to local charities. A notice would be put in The Hunts Post telling people how to apply for grants.

She said: "The day was amazing, especially after all the bad weather we had had. It was super, there were a lot of people there and the quality of the floats was excellent. I have always enjoyed the illuminated procession of boats in the evening and the Kimbolton fireworks were so good there was a huge round of applause at the end."

She added: "What made a difference this year was that when we went round selling programmes people bought them even if they weren't going to be here. They said, 'Oh yes, we've seen it in the paper, we'll have one'. Also we gave our street sellers official badges so people knew the money was not going to leave the town with sellers who come from outside and refuse to give us a donation.

"We sold inflatables and punch ball balloons and whistles and glo sticks at the fireworks which always go down well."

INFORMATION: See www.riversidethreatrecompany.co.uk or call 07928 947 479