Sun shines on village's carnival

By Sharon AsplinA YEAR ago the organisers of Coggeshall Carnival were standing knee-deep in water as the rain-drenched floats made their soggy way through the streets.

By Sharon Asplin

A YEAR ago the organisers of Coggeshall Carnival were standing knee-deep in water as the rain-drenched floats made their soggy way through the streets.

But their prayers for sunny weather were answered on Saturday and hundreds of people packed the village's bunting-lined streets to watch the colourful procession go by.

The carnival had a nautical theme this year and as well as an abundance of pirates and mermaids, there were also a number of groups who had paid tribute to the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.


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About 20 floats, six visiting queens, bands, majorettes and decorated pedestrians took part in the parade, with pride of place going to Coggeshall Carnival Queen Vicky Newton, 24, her princesses Ashlee Waller and Paris Griffiths, both nine, and flower girl Sophie Knights, eight.

The carnival, which dates back to the 1930s, is organised by Coggeshall Carnival Association in partnership with the Coggeshall Chamber of Trade.

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Hazel Picknell-Stride, association chairman, said: "Last year was absolutely washed out. At 1pm everywhere was flooded and I was standing up to my knees in water and hailstones were making the floats fall apart.

"But this year the weather looks excellent and there is a terrific standard of entries with some really good ideas."

Jan Colbourn, one of the carnival judges, added: "It is wonderful to see the police, ambulance and fire brigade all here and, considering carnivals are in decline, we are doing so well here. Hazel works very hard to organise it and this year looks like it's going to be a very good year."

One of the more unusual walking entries was Coggeshall resident Andy Waller, who had transformed himself into a submarine - SS Sub-Normal.

He said: "It was my daughter Ashlee's idea and, as I was helping with the procession because she is a princess, I decided to give it a go. I just had a moment of inspiration and after all the rain last year I thought I'd come prepared."

After setting off from the village's Honywood School, the procession made its way through Coggeshall, ending at the recreation ground in East Street. All money raised from the event will be divided between local charities.

At the fairground, visitors could enjoy a range of entertainment, including jugglers, majorettes displays and a fancy dress competition.

The celebrations continued yesterday with a street party in Stoneham Street to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. Activities included dodgy dancing sailors, a tug-of-war contest and a picnic, while a commemorative cake was also cut.

sharon.asplin@eadt.co.uk

COGGESHALL CARNIVAL RESULTS

Best carnival queen: Walton on the Naze.

Best visiting court float: Maldon.

Best walking group: Three Men in a Boat by the Woolpack regulars.

Best band, majorettes or cheerleaders: Street Beatz.

Best overall entry: The Greenways residents.

Certificate of excellence: Bruce Northrupp for his recreation of HMS Victory.

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