Mayor hails response as carnival plans progress

Huntingdon mayor Bill Hensley

Huntingdon mayor Bill Hensley - Credit: Archant

Plans to revive Huntingdon’s carnival are now moving “full steam ahead” after a successful public meeting last week.

According to organisers, the council chamber at Huntingdon Town Hall was packed for the meeting on July 30 and a new 20-strong committee was set up to take the event, which has not run for 13 years, forward.

Huntingdon mayor, Cllr Bill Hensley, said he was overwhelmed by the level of support from several businesses, including Tesco, Luminus, Bid Huntingdon, Fusion and Huntingdon Community Radio, and members of the public.

Cllr Hensely, who is committee chairman, told The Hunts Post a date has already been set and the carnival would be held over the weekend of August 13/14, 2016.

“It was overwhelming to see so much support in one room,” he said.

“The amount of people in attendance demonstrates the need for Huntingdon to offer an event with a difference. I am confident that with such a fantastic committee, we can work together to give something back to the community year on year. The carnival is an event for people of the town and we are keen to consider any suggestions people may have.”

This year’s carnival, which was due to take place on August 22, had to be cancelled amid political wrangles and controversy when there were issues with obtaining the correct licences.

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Huntingdon town councillor Patrick Kadewere, who was involved in organising the event, expressed disappointment that it would no longer be staged this summer, but said he was looking forward to being part of something new. He attended last Thursday’s meeting and highlighted the importance of community cohesion.

“We all need to work together and forget about our differences,” he said after the meeting.

Cllr Kadewere, has been appointed cultural officer on the new committee, with Ray Godby as vice-chairman, Doug McIlwain named as treasurer and Natasha Pierson takes up the post of secretary.

But Malcolm Lyons, who helped to set up the Huntingdon Riverside Gala which replaced the defunct carnival, has raised concerns about what he described as an “old hat concept”.

“While I am not totally anti a carnival, I am not enthusiastic something which now seems old hat,” he said.

“The reason the Riverside Gala was started in the first place was because there was a lack of interest in running a carnival in the town. My view is that it would have been much better to strengthen what is already in place. Of course, I will always support community events in Huntingdon but I feel they have rushed into this and perhaps the mayor would have been better concentrating his efforts on supporting existing events rather than starting news ones.”

INFO: Anyone who wants to be involved with Huntingdon Carnival should contact Cllr Hensley on 07767 823424 or email: