Lowestoft fund-raisers call time on carnival
06:30 01 March 2014
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An end of an era was signalled this week as fund-raisers called time on their support for Lowestoft Carnival.
With plans being drawn up for the closure of Lowestoft Hospital, its friends group – which has organised the annual street procession for more than 40 years – has decided to relinquish control of the event.
The carnival had been the friends’ main source of fund-raising income over the years, helping it purchase a variety of items of equipment for the hospital.
But, with plans being drawn up to close and possibly redevelop the site in Tennyson Road, the group’s members felt there was little point in continuing to raise funds for it.
The decision was made at a meeting of the friends this week – leaving the future of the carnival in doubt.
Pat Rayner, chairman of the Friends of Lowestoft Hospital, said: “Reluctantly, the current committee has conceded that, with the focus and main purpose of our charity being lost, we would not have the public support to attract either entrants or spectators for a carnival parade.
“However, if another group wants to take it on, then some members of the committee would be willing to assist with advice.”
The last carnival parade organised by the group was held in late September 2012. Last year, with less than four weeks to go before the planned street procession in August, the friends reluctantly announced that the 2013 event would not be going ahead due to a lack of entrants.
Mrs Rayner added: “We were saddened that, after we had done our best to again put on a parade in 2013, the response from townsfolk was not forthcoming in sufficient numbers. So there are some real challenges ahead for anyone who wishes to take over the parade.
“Our remit, as agreed with the Charity Commission, is to support health services in Lowestoft Hospital but also elsewhere in the town.
“So our committee is considering changing our charity’s name to reflect the changes in health provision locally and also looking at how best to allocate existing funds to benefit the health of people in Lowestoft.“
Meanwhile, Mrs Rayner is keen to collect any outstanding carnival trophies or cups – particularly the Butterworth Trophy which was also known as the Lowestoft Hospital Cup.
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of any carnival trophies should contact Mrs Rayner via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org