Tony Shipp looks back on 50-years in charge of Cromer Carnival

Cromer Carnival chairman, Tony Shipp.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Cromer Carnival chairman, Tony Shipp.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

When Tony Shipp volunteered to run the children's activities at Cromer Carnival in 1971, little did he know it would lead to 50-years of dedication to the annual seaside event.

Summer 2021 would have seen Mr Shipp oversee his 50th carnival but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 77-year-old has watched the anniversary pass without an event.

A Big crowd turns out to watch the crowning of the Cromer Carnival Queen Louise Hayward by Blue Pete

A Big crowd turns out to watch the crowning of the Cromer Carnival Queen Louise Hayward by Blue Peter presenter Simon Thomas in 2003.Photo: NICK BUTCHER - Credit: EDP / Archant 2003

Both the 2020 carnival and 2021 had to be called-off due to a combination of restrictions, uncertainty and concerns over large crowds.

Mr Shipp said: "We hoped this year's carnival would happen but we held back because there was so much uncertainty...I think we made the right decision and it's only in the past few weeks that people have felt able to do things.

"Both last year and this year, come carnival week, I think I should have been doing that and I would have been there, you tend to go through that routine still so it's been hard, I have missed it."

Tony Shipp after receiving his MBE from the Queen in 2005.Photo: TONY SHIPP

Tony Shipp after receiving his MBE from the Queen in 2005.Photo: TONY SHIPP - Credit: Archant


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Mr Shipp said he liked to think the carnival would come back bigger and better from missing two years.

"We have already been talking about the possibility of changing a few things around and bringing in one or two events into the plan but we had such a full programme before it was difficult to leave anything out.

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"It's a case of whether we stick with it or whether we go for a revamp but that hasn't been decided yet."

Mr Shipp first got involved in the carnival in 1971, when on the spur of the moment decided to go along to a town meeting where he volunteered to run the children's activities week.

Carnival chairman Tony Shipp, enjoys a crab sandwich at Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festi

Carnival chairman Tony Shipp, enjoys a crab sandwich at Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival, which he also chairsPicture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

He took over the chairman's reins in 1985 and has since spent most of his spare time working on carnival projects.

Mr Shipp said after so many years of involvement in the carnival he could "probably reel the programme off the top of his head."

"Cromer Carnival is very much a family event and families come down year after year and that's why it's so successful."


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