Mayor steps in with plans to revive Huntingdon Carnival

Mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor Bill Hensley.

Mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor Bill Hensley. - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon mayor Bill Hensley has offered to act as a peace broker to ensure the town’s carnival goes ahead next year after organisers were forced to cancel this year’s hastily arranged event.

At a meeting at Huntingdon Town Hall on Monday night, Cllr Hensley formed the new Huntington Carnival Committee in order to revive the town’s carnival, which has not taken place for 13 years.

“We must have a carnival in Huntingdon and it must be run by people committed to the town and those experienced enough to obtain the relevant licenses, and with the experience to make this event an annual success,” he told The Hunts Post.

The new committee will be headed by Cllr Hensley; Ray Godby has been appointed as vice-chairman, treasurer is former Huntingdon mayor Doug McIlwain and secretary is Natasha Pierson.

“We look forward to involving many more individuals from the area to help create a carnival that Huntingdon can be proud of,” added Cllr Hensley.

A public meeting will be held on Thursday (July 30) at 6pm at Huntingdon Town Hall.

Cllr Hensley says he has the support of several local companies and organisations and expects the current committee to grow from 11 to 20.

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This year’s carnival, which was due to take place on August 22, had to be cancelled amid political wrangles and splits in the town council. Cllr Hensley told The Hunts Post the previous carnival committee had been “naive” to believe they could organise such a huge event in a few months.

“Obviously a group of people got together recently to try and organise a new carnival for 2015 but I do not think there was enough time. Also I think things got a little political.”

Town councillor Patrick Kadewere, one of the organisers, said he felt “very sad” that the event would no longer be staged, but he was looking forward to being part of something new.

“The main problem was with the licence for the amount of people we could accommodate at the Riverside Park,” he said.

“We did not have the full support of the town council, which made things difficult. We are very disappointed, but the good news is that with the mayor’s support we can move on without any obstacles in the way this time.”

Malcolm Lyons, who helped to set up the Huntingdon Gala, which replaced the defunct carnival, said his view would be to strenghten what was already in place.

“It would make more sense to build on what we already have and I would encourage everyone to think outside the box here. I think setting up an event with a procession and lorries going through the town would be a backwards step.”