Carnival parade to go head despite concerns over apathy

Plans are being made to hold the first carnival parade in Fakenham for 20 years despite concerns over public apathy towards the event.

The decision to go ahead with the parade was made by the community group Kick Start Fakenham at a meeting on Tuesday night.

It is a dramatic u-turn from the group which announced last week that the parade was in danger of not going ahead due to public apathy.

Kick Start Fakenham is planning the parade as part of the second annual Fakenham Fair, which will be centred around Millennium Park on August 27, and hopes to recreate the colourful parades of the 1980s that brought Fakenham to a standstill.

Jeremy Punchard, who stood down as chairman of Kickstart Fakenham at the group's meeting on Tuesday night due to work and personal commitments, said: 'A week ago we had not received single confirmed entry into the parade. A few people have expressed an interest since then but there is still a general sense of apathy about it which is very disappointing.

'But we made the decision to go ahead with it because we thought it would be a massive shame not to and hopefully now more people will get on board.'

The Rev Adrian Bell, rector of Fakenham Parish Church, told the EDP last week that the problem was not down to apathy, and said many community groups had wanted to take part but were unable to afford the individual insurance costs.

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He claimed that it would cost the church about �1,000 in insurance to enter a float and said the carnival committee should look into insuring the whole carnival itself.

He said: 'People should not misunderstand. It is not about Fakenham being apathetic. If 20 or 30 floats were to club together and it ended up costing �100 each we could have clubbed together. But �1,000 is a lot for anyone to pay out all in one go.'

Mr Punchard said: 'People need to get involved before any of this can happen. If we had 20 community groups coming forward saying they wanted to do it, I would be more than happy to go to an insurance company and negotiate a joint rate, which could be split between all those groups.

'But we have to get this off the ground first. Initially, if people want to do it, they need to do it for themselves.'

Mr Punchard, who is also Fakenham mayor, has been replaced by Mark Baldwin as chairman of Kick Start Fakenham but will continue to be actively involved with the group.

Entries for the parade can be made at the Sweets 'N' Things shop on Oak Street or via kickstartfakenham@hotmail.co.uk

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