Aldeburgh: Lucky Emily getting ready to take centre stage at this year’s carnival

IT is a prestigious honour, bestowed on only a lucky few.

But 18-year-old Emily Stebbings is now getting ready to take centre stage at a seaside town’s annual celebration.

The Leiston High School sixth- form student has been named as Queen for this year’s Aldeburgh Carnival, which is happening between Saturday, August 18, and Monday, August 20.

She will lead the final day’s procession along with her attendants, Millie Lockwood, nine, and Alice Shepherd, eight, who are both pupils at the town’s primary school.

All three girls live in Aldeburgh and are looking forward to their big day. Emily is a talented golfer and plays for the Suffolk Girls Junior Golf Team, while both Millie and Alice enjoy art, music and dance.

This year’s Aldeburgh Carnival promises to be extra special as it is celebrating its 70th year.

Organisers had expressed fears that 2011’s event could be the last because of rising costs associated with policing and traffic control. But the carnival committee said donations hit a record high – helping them to meet the �40,000 cost. As a result the popular event is set to go ahead, although a fundraising drive is still necessary.

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Keith Batt, press liaison officer for Aldeburgh Carnival, said so far people had been generous in their donations but more help was always appreciated.

“It has been going very well,” he said. “We’re all very much looking forward to it.

“The three girls who have been chosen are all very bubbly and I have no doubt they will do us proud.

“With so much going on this summer – such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic torch procession – it’s a very exciting time.

“This year is also our 70th anniversary, so it promises to be extra special. A number of things are still in the pipeline and further details will be revealed soon. Hopefully people’s generosity will continue because we want to carry on for many years to come.”

This year’s carnival procession has no overall theme so those who take part are free to choose whatever fancy dress they like to catch the eyes of the judges.

The fun kicks off on Saturday, August 18, with the carnival village, which includes stalls on Crag Path, sideshows, tombola and a traditional steam-driven galloper ride. There will also be a lollipop hunt for children at 2.30pm on the beach just north of the lifeboat station.

The following day starts with a car boot on King’s Field followed by a mini marathon to Thorpeness and back. There will also be Punch and Judy shows, children’s land sports, an egg boat race and a united songs of praise.

The Monday sees a full programme of carnival events, starting at 8.30am with swimming races in the sea. Along with the main procession at 3pm there will also be more children’s land sports in the morning and a lifeboat launch.

In the evening there will be a funfair and entertainment on the High Street from Samba dancers and a military band, before a Chinese lantern procession at 8.45pm ahead of the usual fireworks display.

Visit www.aldeburghcarnival.com for more details or information on how to support the event.